Sources of disenfranchised grief experienced by orphaned primary school children in Akithi Division, Tigania District, Kenya
Kaberia, Angela Kanini
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Children are victims of disenfranchised grief because of their age factor and the circumstances of some deaths (e.g. AIDS related deaths, suicide, criminal offences).. The very nature of disenfranchised grief creates additional problems for the griever while minimizing their sources of support (Doka 2002). The school is the child's second home and thus an important grieving ground for the bereaved child. In addition, the school community interacts with the bereaved child. Thus, it has a role to play in the child's grief process. Available literature indicates that children above 9 years conceptualise death. At the same time, the mourning process is necessary for one to cope with bereavement. During the mourning process children have grieving needs. Also, they have tasks they need to work on before mourning can be said to be complete. Literature review indicates that children have a special attachment to their parents who are their main attachment figures. In Kenya, the Guidance and Counselling unit in schools is expected to take care of children's grieving needs. Disenfranchised grief is a counselling issue children deal with. The literature review identifies the need to get first-hand information from the bereaved children in order to establish the nature and the factors of disenfranchised grief in Kenya. The study was carried out in Akithi Division, Tigania District. Ex-post facto design was used. The study population was primary school children who had lost one or both parents as well as the Teacher Counsellors. A total of 63 orphaned children and 12 teacher counsellors took part in the study. Data was collected through questionnaires, which included sentence completion, and an interview schedule, which were administered personally by the researcher. The data was analysed mainly through themes, categories and patterns derived through available' theories and other sources. Quantitative data took the form of tables for presentation, which were organized using simple descriptive statistics. SPSS was used to work out the cross tabulations on the various variables under study. The findings indicated that both interpersonal and intrapersonal sources contribute to disenfranchised grief. The study found out that there was minimal grief counselling that was going on in schools. The study recommended the introduction of grief education to all stakeholders. In addition, the study recommended enhancing dialogue on death matters between all the stakeholders. These recommendations would help maximize the sources of support for all the bereaved children while enfranchising the grief already experienced by the parentally bereaved children.