Home Institution

Bates College

Publication Date

Fall 2007

Program Name

South Africa: Community Health


In South Africa, many children find themselves in at risk situations arising from issues like HIV, abuse, and poverty, which highly impact their mental well being by forcing them into unlivable situations. The Durban Children’s Home, located in Glenwood, Durban, works to tackle this problem, providing facilities, meals, and care for 75 homeless, abused, terminally ill, and/or poverty stricken children. Yet in coming from situations where children no longer have support of their primary caregiver or environment, these children require quality psychosocial attention in the Home. However when basic needs of so many children must be met in an institutional setting, the issue is posed of whether or not these crucial psychosocial needs of the children are being met. To answer this, children’s symptoms suggesting psychosocial stress were observed, as were interactions between children and caregivers. Those observations were then compared to interviews of caregivers about their primary roles to understand the discrepancies between caregivers’ perspectives and actions. These were then triangulated against views of experts through personal discussion and current research and literature. Psychosocial stress was observed in some of the children and was displayed in very different forms. Though all caregivers were equipped with training to assist the psychosocial needs of the children, there was inconsistency of attention to the psychosocial needs of the children due in part to burnout and the constant demand of the children’s needs.


Developmental Psychology | Social Psychology


Article Location