SOCIAL AND CULTURAL BARRIERS TO EDUCATION Strategies to increase access to education for children living with HIV in Vietnam: A Minor Field Study

University essay from Lunds universitet/Graduate School; Lunds universitet/Master of Science in Development Studies; Lunds universitet/Socialhögskolan

Abstract: This thesis explores stigma in regards to access to education for children affected by HIV/AIDS in Vietnam and strategies to overcome stigmatization. This study is based on previous research which claims that HIV-related stigma causes isolation, bullying and social exclusion among affected groups. As a result, Goffman’s theory of stigma was used together with Bourdieu’s theory of capital and Foucault’s concept of power. Nine in-depth interviews were conducted with practitioners in Hanoi. In spite of stigma, my findings suggest that social and cultural barriers are additional obstacles which severely limit access to education for vulnerable children. Such barriers entail poverty and inequalities in age, gender, class, ethnicity, orphan-status and geographical location. In conclusion, stigma-reducing interventions such as self-help groups, documentaries and participatory led awareness campaigns are efficient strategies to reduce stigma. Nevertheless, unequal access to education is caused by structural oppression which creates powerlessness. This must be challenged by promoting democratic participation and eliminating corruption since participation is power.

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