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War and community disorganisation : a case study of the impact of the Rwandan crisis 1990-2000 as the family structure among Rwandese exiles in Nairobi

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dc.creator Nyiramana, Bibiane 2012-11-13T12:42:43Z 2012-11-13T12:42:43Z 2005 2018-06-25T11:25:07Z 2018-06-25T11:25:07Z
dc.description (data migrated from the old repository)
dc.description This project is an exploratory study on family changes resulting from the Rwandan crisis 1990-2000. It focuses on changes in the distribution of the role of the head of the family in order to discover new responsibilities associated to this role in the families of Rwandese in exile in Nairobi. In this vein, it facilitates analysis of the challenges related to these changes and the new responsibilities of the head of the family. Again, it addresses the copying mechanisms and problems resulting therefrom. This study describes what happens when the family is cut off from its community system and subsystems and finds itself dislocated in the system of a different community in a foreign country. It also describes how the family in the above situation tries to survive while faced with the structural changes and difficulties of integrating itself in the host community. Various methods and tools of data collection have been used, namely questionnaires. interviews and focused group discussions. Findings have been analysed using descriptive data analysis methods. The study is guided by the systems theory and symbolic interaction theory in order to apprehend the importance of the equilibrium built around the family structures. Conflict theory has been used to help understand the influence of the above-mentioned equilibrium on the health of the whole community. It also helps to notice not only the importance of this equilibrium but above all, its fragility during the economic hardships resulting from wars. This study is built on assumptions and opens a debate on the cancer of the Rwandese family that ignited genocide and now blocks any efforts of reconciliation. The Rwandan war and genocide caused family separations and created an exile situation. Exile families in Nairobi are former Rwandese elites. The war has deprived these rich families of all their property. In this clandestine situation they can not get jobs and hence do not meet their basic needs. All these create a major crisis in the family. Changes are observed in the family structure and stability. The man is not in a position to assume his responsibilities as the head of the family, either because he is dead or he is alive but jobless. The wife or even children are forced to take over the role of the head of the family. The family faces a lot of challenges and in order to survive recreates a new community organization based on associations and craftwork. Widows and orphans are faced with double responsibility. For children heads of the family, this responsibility interfere with their education, deny them the chance to grow, which is a very painful experience. women also become the family's decision makers. This renders the men powerless and they loose authority before their wives and children. In Nairobi. exile Rwandese are faced with confusion. anxiety and unhappiness. The family process is experiencing a lot of problems and challenges. Before the war and the genocide the Rwandese family process was a flow of family experience in the course of which family members developed aspirations and expectations, at the same time acquired their various roles. One of the consequences of the Rwandan crisis is the disruption of the family process. Death and separation have interrupted the successive family drama. Exile Rwandese family in Nairobi instead of developing aspirations and expectations are forced to adjust to sudden changes in the family structure and stability. Roles are not adjusted with the influence from the past, rather forced by the exile situation dominated by scarcity, differences, clash of motives and cultural inconsistency. As exile Rwandese women become heads of their families their husbands who lost their role become frustrated and feel less obliged to commit themselves to familial or parental responsibilities. Consequently, exile Rwandese women confront the burdens of the double responsibility. Before the Rwandan war and genocide the marital commitment was as a product of the extended family networks and structures. The family structures determined family roles and provided mutual help. In Nairobi due to changes in the family structure the marital commitment is as means of survival. Changes in the distribution of the role of the head of the family among Rwandese in Nairobi have severely disrupted domestic tranquility. Yet, only few divorce cases have been observed. This is because exile Rwandese in Nairobi have been forced to adjust to family conflicts mostly through avoidance reactions. Changes in the redistribution of the role of the head of the family among exile Rwandese in Nairobi have also created maladjustment for children who became heads of their families. New responsibilities, economic hardship, family crisis and a multi-cultural environment interfere with their growing and educational process. Children who live with their parents suffer from the consequences of their parents' behaviour in regard to crises such as drunkenness, desertion, extra-marital behaviour, quarrels among others. Children are also faced with problems of insecurity, conflicting loyalties ,inconsistent discipline, and unbalanced identification. Among exile Rwandese families in Nairobi there is also" clash of inferiority complexes". Some parents feel inferior because their children cope well with new cultures and languages. The parents attitude that their greatest responsibility exists just before their children is being challenged. Children also feel inferior due to their parents' status namely a father without job, a mother who engages in extra-marital relations for the survival of the family, etc. The Rwandan war and the genocide have created one-parent situations through death and family separations. Children from these families suffer all of the disadvantages of having one parent. This situation yield a special danger of excessive intimacy with one parent, rather than proper balance in love and identification with parents of the same and opposite sex. Rwandese orphans in Nairobi suffer most, especially, when they are forced to live with people they do not know. In same cases they suffer rejection, jealousy, discrimination and unbalanced identification. "To be loved and then rejected may be worse than never to be loved at all", (Kirkpatrick,1963:2l4)
dc.language en
dc.publisher University of Nairobi
dc.subject Refugees
dc.subject Civil war
dc.title War and community disorganisation : a case study of the impact of the Rwandan crisis 1990-2000 as the family structure among Rwandese exiles in Nairobi
dc.title Thesis (MA) - University of Nairobi
dc.type Thesis

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