The expression of grief among orphans of the AIDS' epidemic in South Uganda
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The AIDS pandemic in the south of Uganda has left hundreds of thousands of bereaved orphans. The tremendous loss of life has also created radical changes in ageold cultural practices governing family life. Where once clan and families absorbed orphans into the .extended family, now the numbers of orphans often makes this impossible. Families are disrupted with large numbers of children being cared for by elderly relatives or in some cases, the eldest in families of children bear totalresponsibility for the Younger ones. In the past grieving was structured over aprolonged period of time With the immense number of deaths which are occurring now, this grieving period is often contracted into a few brief days. The purpose of this research is to study how these circumstances impact on children by looking at how orphans experience grief and how they express their feelings, in order to determine if that expression is adequate for dealing with the losses which they have suffered. Analysis of this data reveals that children do not always have the opportunity to grieve adequately The research highlights those practices and beliefs that hinder and prevent adequate grieving as well as those customs which are helpful. The extent of this problem will continue to grow as AIDS continues to spread. The importance of adequate grief resolution is well documented in western literature. This study is a step towards understanding this problem in an African context. Recommendations are made to train counselors in bereavement counseling in order to establish bereavement support groups for the orphans and for their guardians, and for individual counseling for those who need it. Education for teachers and those working with orphans on grief resolution is also recommended. Further research is recommended particularly to look at why some orphans have good grief resolution and others do not, and the consequences of this maladjustment.