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Representations of orphaned children’s lives in Lesotho

Susan E. Short, Brown University
Maletela Tuoane, Department of Social Development, Pretoria

The HIV/AIDS epidemic in Southern Africa is transforming the social institution of the family. One feature of this transformation is the illness and death of middle-aged adults, those most likely to provide for the well-being of children. In Lesotho, one out of every five children under 15 has lost one or both parents. By 2010, estimates suggest that this figure will be 25%, the highest of any country in the world (Children on the Brink 2004 UNICEF,USAID). Significantly, this high and growing incidence of orphanhood is occurring in one of the poorest countries in Southern Africa. This paper draws on survey data and ethnographic data to describe the situation of orphaned children in Lesotho.

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Presented in Session 16: The family in Africa