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Influence of guidance and counselling services on psychological needs of orphans and vulnerable children in Kenya: a case study of notre dame children home

Author: 
Sr. Nentaweh M. Wakger and Enose M.W. Simatwa
Subject Area: 
Social Sciences and Humanities
Abstract: 

The growth and development of a child is influenced by primary and secondary factors. Primary factors include heredity, the condition of the mother during pregnancy, nutrition, illness and physical environment. Secondary factors include social and psychological factors, social factors are socio-economic class, parental level of education, family size, position of children in the family (birth order) and spacing of children. The psychological ones include; love, tenderness, joy, zest, elation, pleasure, humor, laughter, anxiety, fear, anger, tolerance, empathy, sympathy and many others. It is generally accepted that primary factors are precursors of secondary factors. All these factors affect physical growth and development of children. For instance children brought up in harsh homes or homes with little love and in institutions and orphanages where affection is wanting may suffer retarded growth and development. Participant observation revealed that orphaned children from deplorable environment, dilapidated dwellings improved dramatically in Notre Dame Children’s Home (NDCH) in which guidance and counseling services were provided besides good environment. This was also noticed in some children, that is, graduates of Notre Dame Children’s Home who returned to their various homes from boarding schools, where they have not been properly taken care off after a period of being in orphanage. It is against this backdrop that this study sought to establish the influence of guidance and counselling services on psychogenic needs of orphans and vulnerable children of Notre Dame Outreach. The study established that Guidance and Counselling (G&C) services impacted positively and significantly on Orphans and Vulnerable Children’s psychological needs. Thus, most Orphans and Vulnerable Children (OVCs) did not find it hard to adjust after receiving guidance and counseling services. Normally, children aged between six and ten years often suffer from restlessness, sleep disturbance, lack of appetite and loss of weight in the first three months of school life because of tension of adjusting to the transition from home to school. For the children who have proceeded to secondary schools, middle level colleges and universities, the expectations are that they should have adjusted accordingly though some factors may have long lasting effect on them. For instance, if a child lives with security, he learns to have faith in himself; if a child lives with hostility, he learns to fight; if a child lives with acceptance, he learns to love; if a child lives with fear, he learns to be apprehensive; if a child lives with approval, he learns to be like himself and if a child lives with recognition, he learns to have a goal. In effect the OVCs who have graduated from Notre Dame Children Home were found to have developed strong personalities acquiring the desired skills, knowledge and attitudes which they benefited from the guidance and counselling services and thus were found to be striving to excel, being creative, innovative, economical and independent in their undertakings.

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