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An appreciative inquiry into philanthropy of community (PoC) among refugee women in Johannesburg

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dc.contributor.advisor Prof. J.B.S. Nel en_US
dc.contributor.author De Klerk, Melissa Amelia
dc.date.accessioned 2012-04-19T10:17:39Z
dc.date.available 2012-04-19T10:17:39Z
dc.date.issued 2012-04-19
dc.date.submitted 2010
dc.identifier.uri http://hdl.handle.net/10210/4670
dc.description M.A. en_US
dc.description.abstract Migration and resettlement in South Africa bring many challenges to refugee women. Within a very hostile and discriminating environment, refugee women have to familiarise themselves with a new culture and new languages, as well as gain access to systems of health, education and employment. Loss of identity, income, career, equality and significant others are evident, which leaves them, as refugee women, excluded, isolated and disempowered. However, instead of just becoming passive recipients of aid, refugee women are active in forming their own informal horizontal helping networks, defined as Philanthropy of Community (PoC). PoC can be described as informal, multi-directional, intra-gender helping relationships among refugee women, who share communality in terms of language, culture, social circumstances and ideals. In this study, the networks are also referred to as “the sisterhood”, based on the shared goals, circumstances and feelings of mutual empathy and loyalty toward each other. Driven by the philosophy of ubuntu, altruism and religious beliefs, and guided by the principle, “If I have, I give”, the sisterhood gives and receives material and non-material help in its community. The goal of this study was to gain an appreciative understanding of philanthropy of community (PoC) among refugee women in Johannesburg as a social asset for community development. Objectives of this study were to identify and describe the PoC of the sisterhood, as it perceives and experiences it, and identify assets that can be utilised to facilitate community development practice. The sample consisted of five Congolese refugee women from Yeoville. All participants had a tertiary qualification, yet were unemployed. A qualitative research approach was followed to allow participants to construct meaning out of their social and cultural realities. Data collection methods were focus groups and individual interviews to elicit information and meaning of the sisterhood in Yeoville. 2 The following social assets were identified in the sisterhood of Yeoville: protection against social exclusion, provision of informal social support, maintenance of cultural links, promotion of socialisation and communication, community-building, pooling of human capital, self-organised support in adversity and a sense of well-being and spiritual fulfilment. Despite the positive effect of PoC, it also has limitations: a perceived sense of familiarity, based on same-ethnic relationships, as well as laziness, often lead to exploitation of fellow sisters, resulting in distrust and loneliness. It was concluded that PoC does not have the potential to meet all the psycho-social needs of refugee women, and cannot fully replace organised social welfare services. Research concluded that while participants acknowledge PoC within the sisterhood as their main means of survival, they find it difficult to envision the mobilisation of existing sisterhood networks towards participatory community development initiatives, creating sustainable livelihoods and integration into the local community. Reasons are a lack of capacity, lack of assertiveness and distrust. While they seem well-informed about the internal functioning of their sisterhood, they show a lack of information and skills on how to link with the external community to form partnerships and networks to stimulate development. A participatory Asset-Based Community Development (ABCD) approach, with its mechanism for healing, social cohesion and nation-building, is the most appropriate way to propel human, social and economic integration and growth in the current migration context. By focusing on what is present, instead of what is absent, problematic or needed among women refugees, and embracing their strengths, gifts and indigenous wisdom, PoC within the sisterhood can be applied by community developers as a social tool in a planned change process to facilitate integration and development of refugee women in South Africa. en_US
dc.language.iso en en_US
dc.subject Women refugees en_US
dc.subject Internal migration en_US
dc.subject Humanitarianism en_US
dc.subject Philanthropy of Community en_US
dc.title An appreciative inquiry into philanthropy of community (PoC) among refugee women in Johannesburg en_US
dc.type Thesis en_US

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