Grief care to children ophaned by HIV and AIDS within Nairobi province Kenya : towards a pastoral strategy for identity formation

Nguru, Janet (2014-12)

Thesis (PhD)--Stellenbosch University, 2014.

Thesis

ENGLISH ABSTRACT: This thesis deals with pastoral grief care for children orphaned through HIV and AIDS in Nairobi City County in Kenya (formerly Nairobi Province in Kenya). This concern developed as a result of realising that children’s grief is rarely attended to before, during and after burial in most Kenyan communities. The research question that guided the research was: What theoretical, theological and contextual pastoral intervention strategy can the church use to provide grief care to children orphaned through HIV and AIDS? To respond to this question, the research had four objectives, which helped the researcher to remain focused on the key problem. An empirical research design was adopted to establish the impact the death of parents has on children and to examine how their grief has been responded to, particularly by the church. It was clear that children do experience grief that manifests in various forms including emotional, behavioural, cognitive, spiritual and physical responses. Grief is also heightened by the events that transpire after the death of parents plus the status of the children as double orphans, paternal orphans or maternal orphans. Despite the fact that children are overwhelmed by grief and grief-related issues when their parents die, the family and community as well as the church, rarely provide children with grief care. Through a literature study the research engaged with other disciplines in order to broaden the understanding of children’s grief. The study revealed that children’s development in general is affected by their grief and their stage of development, in turn, has an effect on their grief. However, it should be noted that African cultures have great impact on the development of African children and their grief. It was also noted that African people have their own way of grieving and mourning when a family loses a person through death. Various rituals that are calculated to help the mourning family work to through the grief process are performed. Interestingly, children rarely participate in the performance of such rituals. It was very clear that, in order to provide pastoral grief care to children orphaned through HIV and AIDS, it is of utmost importance to understand the nature of human beings in relation to God. Such an understanding could determine how the church responds to the grieving children’s situation. It is suggested that the church should work closely with the family, community and institutions in order to provide meaningful pastoral grief care within an African setting. It was argued that various rituals performed during funeral ceremonies are of help in grieving and the mourning process; hence it is suggested that children should also be given the opportunity to participate in performing the rituals. It is noted that the Christian and cultural rituals that are relevant to grief care could be employed. Given the above understanding, a pastoral intervention strategy for grief care to children orphaned through HIV and AIDS is proposed. Different interventions that respond to children’s grief and grief-related issues before, during, and after burial are discussed.

AFRIKAANSE OPSOMMING: Hierdie tesis ondersoek die pastorale vertroosting van kinders wat in die Nairobi City County in Kenya (die voormalige Nairobi Provinsie) as gevolg van MIV en vigs wees gelaat is. Dit bied 'n pastorale ingrypingstrategie in reaksie tot die verdriet van kinders wat as gevolg van MIV en vigs as wese atergelaat is. Kommer hieroor het ontstaan by die besef dat die bedroefdheid van kinders in die meeste Keniaanse gemeenskappe selde vóór, tydens of ná ‘n begrafnis aandag kry. Die navorsingsvraag wat die navorsing gerig het, was: Watter teoretiese, teologiese en kontekstuele pastorale intervensiestrategie kan deur die kerk gebruik word om vertroosting vir treurende kinders wat vanweë MIV en vigs wese geword het, te bied? Vier doelstellings is vir die beantwoording van hierdie vraag opgestel om te verseker dat die navorser se fokus op die kernprobleem ingestel bly. ‘n Empiriese navorsingontwerp is gekies om die impak van die dood van ouers op kinders te bepaal en uit te vind hoe hul bedroefdheid, veral deur die kerk, hanteer is. Dit was duidelik dat kinders wel treur, en dat hul droefheid in die vorm van emosionele, gedrags-, kognitiewe, geestelike en fisiese reaksies geopenbaar word. Die intensiteit van kinders se droefheid word ook verhoog deur gebeure wat op die dood van die ouers volg, sowel as die kinders se status as dubbele weeskinders of as vaderlose of moederlose weeskinders. Ten spyte van die feit dat kinders deur hartseer en verdriet-verwante aangeleenthede oorweldig word wanneer hul ouers sterf, bied die familie en die gemeenskap, sowel as die kerk, selde vertroostende sorg aan sulke kinders. Die navorser het ander dissiplines deur middel van ‘n literatuurstudie betrek om begrip van kinderdroefheid te verbreed. Die studie het onthul dat kinders se ontwikkeling in die algemeen deur hul bedroefdheid geaffekteer word en dat hul fase van ontwikkeling weer hul droefheid beïnvloed. Daar moet egter in ag geneem word dat Afrika-kulture ’n groot impak op die ontwikkeling van kinders van Afrika en hul verdriet het. Dat mense van Afrika droefheid en rou op ‘n eie manier bedryf wanneer ‘n familielid te sterwe kom, moet ook in ag geneem word. Daar is ‘n verskeidenheid rituele wat daarop gemik is om die roubeklaers in staat te stel om die rouproses te deurwerk. Kinders neem selde hieraan deel. Dit was duidelik dat dit van uiterste belang is om die natuur van die mens in verhouding tot God te verstaan om vertroostende pastorale sorg aan kinders wat vanweë MIV en vigs wees geword het, te bied. Die verstaan hiervan kan bepaal hoe die kerk op die situasie van kinders wat treur, reageer. Die voorstel is dat die kerk noue samewerking met die familie, die gemeenskap en instellings moet handhaaf om betekenisvolle vertroostende pastorale sorg binne die Afrika-opset te bied. Daar word aangevoer dat die verskillende rituele wat gedurende begrafnis seremonies uitgevoer word, van hulp is in rou en die rouproses, dus word voorgetel dat kinders ‘n geleentheid moet kry om aan die rituele deel te neem. Christelike en kulturele rituele wat van toepassing is kan gebruik word. 'n Pastorale intervensiestrategie vir vertroostende sorg aan kinders wat as gevolg van MIV en vigs wees gelaat is, word aan die hand van die bogenoemde insig voorgestel. Verskillende ingrypings wat op die kind se hartseer en rou-verwante kwessies vóór, gedurende en ná die begrafnis betrekking het, word bespreek.

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