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‘Read me to resilience’: Exploring the use of cultural stories to boost the positive adjustment of children orphaned by AIDS

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The study explored whether and how culturally sensitive stories can encourage resilience in young children orphaned by AIDS. The purpose of the investigation was allied to the paradigm of positive psychology, which focuses on the promotion of potential strengths to buffer children against adversity, as well as on social ecological understandings of resilience, which emphasise that social ecologies have a duty to facilitate children's positive adjustment to adversity. A pre–post-intervention evaluation was used to gather qualitative data on orphaned children's resilience to AIDS-related adversity by employing participatory visual methods. The intervention, called Read-me-to-Resilience (Rm2R), consisted of telling 22 culturally sensitive stories to the children. We compared the pre- and post-intervention data for each participant before thematically analysing the total findings. Our analysis indicates that the children's resilience had been bolstered in the period between the pre-test and post-test. We conclude that culturally relevant stories could be used by South African caregivers, service providers, and educators as an accessible, inexpensive and ready-made tool to directly empower children who have been orphaned by AIDS.
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Keywords: HIV/AIDS; South Africa; folktales; participatory visual methods; protective resources; psychological development; social ecology; storytelling

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: 1: Faculty of Education Sciences, North-West University, Potchefstroom, 2520, South Africa 2: Faculty of Humanities, North-West University, School of Education, Vaal Triangle Campus, PO Box 1174 Vanderbijlpark, 1900, South Africa 3: Faculty of Education, Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University, PO Box 77000 Port Elizabeth, 6031, South Africa

Publication date: 01 October 2012

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