Re-representing Rwandan Child Headed Households: Observations on Community Support

Michelle Hardy


In this article I touch on one aspect of my research with orphans living in rural Rwandan child headed households. Images of children living without adult caregivers prompt perceptions of vulnerability and victimization, perspectives often supported in popular and academic literature. While this article does not seek to refute these perceptions, I suggest that a purposeful investigation into the children’s social context illustrates what types of support are available to these households from the members of their local community, and how the nature of that support is linked to the social position of the community member. This, in turn, provides significant contextualinformation on the lived reality of the children that is useful forstrengthening existing support and encouraging new efforts.

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University of Victoria