Life Experiences of Street Children in Bulawayo: Implications for Policy and Practice

Ndlovu, Ian (2015). Life Experiences of Street Children in Bulawayo: Implications for Policy and Practice. PhD thesis The Open University.



In the period between 2000 and 2015 much has been written about Zimbabwe’s political and economic problems with very little mention of Zimbabwe’s children, or indeed street children. In this study I explore the experience of street children in Zimbabwe’s second largest city, Bulawayo. The study explores the work and activities that street children engage in as they negotiate their way through public and private spaces. A consideration is given to how the street children’s need for space and their sense of place becomes part of an acquired identity that they establish through negotiation or imposition by others. Their experiences are presented in their words in order to capture who they are and how they navigate living on the margins of society; crossing physical as well as social and moral boundaries.
The study employed an ethnographic approach and was informed by the understanding of children as autonomous social actors. It explores some of the conceptual terrain necessary for a study of the life experiences of street children in Bulawayo in the context of their day to day activities and claims for space and places. Their image, journeys and how they project themselves into the future emerges from their interactions amongst themselves and their immediate environment. The study explores whether and how a child-centred model of practice would be possible to use in relation to street children and the implications for policy.

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