Reversed roles and stressed souls. Child-headed households in Ethiopia

In many parts of Ethiopia, children as young as nine are carrying the burden of supporting their siblings. Child-headed households live a life of hardship and often misery, as they struggle to make ends meet, suffer emotional trauma and cope with a high cost of living. However, their devastating predicament has not been fully exposed, due to lack of research and information. This study identifies the challenges of these children, as well as the underlying dynamics of the situation. It has analytical depth and vividly presents cases that properly contextualise the challenges and resilience of child-headed households. The report contains a wide range of heartrending cases, including the child of fourteen who relies on the rising and setting of the sun to tell the hour of her mother’s ART drug intake, and the fifteen year-old girl who has to cultivate the land by herself to feed her five siblings. The study cogently and sympathetically captures the stressful lives of these children.

Published 2011-05-13