The psychological well-being among institutionalized orphans and vulnerable children in Maputo
In sub-Saharan Africa, poverty and its consequences hit orphan and vulnerable children (OVC) the hardest. As the once protective safety net dissipates, many OVC are forced to live in overcrowded and understaffed orphanages. In the attempt to meet survival needs, psychological health is pushed into the background. The aim of this study is to increase the understanding of psychological well-being among institutionalized OVC in Maputo, Mozambique. Qualitative interviews (N=12) and field observations in orphanages (N=6) were analyzed through the hierarchy of needs model. Institutionalized OVC were found living under poor general care with few opportunities for ludic, educational, and social growth. Also among the finding were neglect and abuse, attachment difficulties and traumatic stress symptoms. Nonetheless, this study opposes the disuse of orphanages and suggests interventions to improve the children’s psychological well-being.
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