HIV/AIDS orphans‘ schooling in post-conflict South Sudan : Education-related challenges and coping strategies of orphan children


Publication date



Høgskolen i Oslo. Avdeling for lærerutdanning og internasjonale studier

Document type


Master i flerkulturell og internasjonal utdanning


The aim of this study is to provide a picture of the experiences of HIV/AIDS orphans with regard to the challenges they face in attending school, and the ways in which they deal with some of those challenges in the process of schooling in Kajo-keji County, South Sudan. Three objectives were developed for this study. The first is intended to explore the challenges faced by orphans in relation to education. The second explores the initiatives taken by individual orphans to cope with the challenges to their schooling and the third is to understand how various actors within the orphans‘ communities respond to the orphans‘ situation. In particular, the third objective looks at the role played by teachers, religious leaders, elders and stakeholders like Governmental and nongovernmental organisations, community based organisation and faith based organisations in helping orphans cope with the challenges they face in the process of schooling. The methodology adopted for this study is based in a qualitative approach to social research, specifically an ethnographic design in which a variety of methods are used for collecting data, including participant observation, semi-structured interviews and secondary data analysis. Two primary schools were selected as the main sites for data collection, and a total of thirty four participants were interviewed in this study. The resulting data were analysed narratively. The findings of this study reveal that the HIV/AIDS orphans experience several challenges ranging from food, financial, material, medical and emotional which collectively contribute to affecting their schooling experiences. On a relatively positive note, most of the orphans adopted the leja-leja coping strategy which necessitated that they physically involve themselves in doing income generating activities (IGAs) in order to finance some of their basic and schooling needs. More so, a few of them coped through getting financial and emotional assistance from NGOs, religious institutions, teachers and elders. The study suggests that, despite or perhaps because of these challenges, orphans can be considered as resourceful individuals. It further indicates that civil society and the Sudanese state can do more to support the HIV/AIDS orphans. One conclusion from the study is that the South Sudan government in collaboration with its partners should intensify their efforts in developing policies and programmes which enhance the educational opportunities of the orphan children, and more so the inclusive culture developed by some primary schools like those in Kajo-keji County which provided ‗safe havens‘ to the orphans.


Permanent URL (for citation purposes)