An ecosystemic approach to supporting learners orphaned by HIV/AIDS
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The aims of this research about learners affected or orphaned by HIV/AIDS was to determine, by means of a case study, the psychological well-being of learners affected or orphaned by HIV/AIDS; the general performance of these learners at school; the nature and extent of social support they get from their schools, family, community and society; and the physical well-being of these learners; as well as to make suggestions for an ecosystemic psycho-social support of these learners in order to enhance and strengthen their psycho-social well-being. The literature review highlighted that, as a result of HIV/AIDS, new family forms are emerging, such as "skipgeneration" families, where the parent generation has succumbed to HIV/AIDS and HIV/AIDS-related illnesses and the families are made up of grandparents and orphaned grandchildren, and child-headed families, where grandparents are not available to care for orphaned grandchildren. The case study of this research revealed that parental illness and the death of parents of adolescents affected and orphaned by HIV/AIDS are causes of these adolescents' emotional trauma and grief, stress, scholastic problems, stigmatization and discrimination, missing out on educational opportunities and experiencing poverty. The empirical research also revealed that these children and adolescents do not get the necessary familial support from their relatives, especially immediately after the death of their parents. On the basis of both the literature review and the empirical research findings, the researcher made suggestions for an ecosystemic psycho-social support of learners affected by the HIV/AIDS pandemic in order to enhance and strengthen their psycho-social well-being.
- Education