Doing hope with children who have been living on the street

Smuts, Meryl Frances (2004-12)

Thesis (MEdPsych)--Stellenbosch University, 2004.

Thesis

ENGLISH ABSTRACT: This research journey explores the lived experiences of children who had previously been living on the street and were now part of a house being managed by two voluntary organisations. The caregivers and boys are incorporated as co-researchers in a participatory action research journey within a post-modern, social constructivist paradigm. The following research curiosities inform the study: • How do the caregivers and children in the house stand up to homelessness and poverty? • How do their stories reflect the notion of doing hope? Positioning myself within the research journey necessitates the discussion of beliefs and constructs that inform the paradigm, such as post-modernism, social constructionism, discourses and the deconstruction of discourses. According to Denzin and Lincoln (1994:14), the research strategy comprises the practical application of the assumptions underlying the paradigm through the use of certain skills, and can be regarded as the paradigm in action which provides the methods for the researcher to engage in the research journey. In this study, a qualitative method is used to describe and understand human behaviour and the meaning attached to it in the participant's own terms. The coresearchers participate during all the aspects of the research journey, and the cyclical nature of participatory action research described by Babbie and Mouton (2001:315- 316) is honoured. The narrative approach is used in conducting the conversations. According to White (1991:28), it is a non-recriminatory, power-sharing way of interaction that provides a context where the consciousness and knowledges of the person are at the centre of the process of consultation. An opportunity is created for the boys and caregivers to story their experiences and to explore the meanings that they attach to these experiences. The main ethical principles that operate are autonomy, nonmaleficence, beneficence and validity. Tape-recordings, transcriptions, reflections and letters are used to document the research journey. Homelessness and poverty had been dictating certain behaviours to the boys, and it was even dictating their lived identities. At the time of the research journey, the caregivers are creating a community of support that is effectively doing hope for the boys, thus enabling them to loosen the grip of poverty and homelessness. Personal reflections indicate that I as researcher am not unaffected by the research journey. Although obstacles present themselves during the research journey, new possibilities are opened up for further exploration.

AFRIKAANSE OPSOMMING: Hierdie navorsingsreis ondersoek die ervarings van kinders wat voorheen op straat gewoon het en wie nou in 'n huis woon wat deur twee vrywillige organisasies bestuur word. Die versorgers en seuns word betrek as medenavorsers in 'n deelnemende aksienavorsingsreis binne die raamwerk van 'n postmodernistiese, sosiaal konstruktivistiese paradigma. Die studie word toegelig deur die volgende navorsings-ondersoeke: • Hoe weerstaan die versorgers en kinders in die huis die impak van woningloosheid en armoede? • Hoe reflekteer die stories wat hulle vertel die idee van 'hoop doen'? Ten einde myself binne die navorsingsreis te posisioneer noodsaak 'n bespreking van die oortuigings en samestellings onderliggend aan die paradigma, soos postmodernisme, sosiaal konstruktivisme, diskoerse en die dekonstruksie van diskoerse. Volgens Denzen en Lincoln (1994:14) behels die navorsingsstrategie die praktiese uitvoering van die opvattings onderliggend aan die paradigma deur die toepassing van sekere vaardighede. Die navorsingsstrategie kan beskou word as die paradigma in aksie deurdat dit die metodes vir die navorser verskaf om betrokke te raak by die navorsingsreis. 'n Kwalitatiewe metode word tydens hierdie studie gebruik om menslike gedrag te beskryf en te verstaan en om vas te stel watter betekenis die deelnemers self aan hulle belewenisse heg. Die medenavorsers neem deel aan alle aspekte van die navorsingsreis en die sikliese aard van deelnemende aksienavorsing soos beskryf deur Babbie en Mouton (2001:315-316) word gerespekteer. 'n Narratiewe benadering word tydens die gesprekke gebruik. Volgens White (1991:28) is die narratiewe benadering nie-blamerend en is daar 'n gelyke verdeling van mag. 'n Konteks word geskep waar die bewustelikhede en kennisse van die persoon sentraal geplaas word in die konsultasieproses. 'n Geleentheid word geskep vir die seuns en versorgers om hulle ervarings te vertel en om die betekenisse wat hulle aan die ervarings heg te eksploreer. Hoofsaaklik word outonomie, niekwaadwilligheid, goedgesindheid en geldigheid as etiese beginsels gerespekteer. Bandopnames, transkriberings, refleksies en briewe word gebruik om die navorsingsreis te dokumenteer. Woningloosheid en armoede het vantevore die gedrag van die seuns, sowel as die identiteite wat hulle uitgeleef het, voorgeskryf. Ten tye van die navorsingsreis is die versorgers besig om 'n gemeenskap van ondersteuning te skep wat effektief hoop doen vir die seuns en wat hulle in staat stel om die greep van woningloosheid en armoede te verbreek. Persoonlike refleksies dui aan dat ek as navorser nie onaangeraak gelaat word deur die navorsingsreis nie. Struikelblokke verskyn tydens die navorsingsreis, maar nuwe moontlikhede baan die weg vir verdere eksplorasie.

Please refer to this item in SUNScholar by using the following persistent URL: http://hdl.handle.net/10019.1/16503
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