Children's education among HIV-affected households: a case study of Gatanga District of Central Province
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This study aimed at investigating the impact of HIV/AIDS on children's education among HIV/AIDS affected households in Gatanga District. The researcher sought to: Establish the experiences and challenges facing children living in a HIV / AIDS affected household as they affect the education of the children, Identify coping mechanisms against the challenges faced, and assess the extent to which children's education has been affected by HlV / AIDS. The study looked at children at the Primary School level hence the fmdings of this study were not applicable to secondary school and tertiary level of education. The study was descriptive in nature hence the numbers provided gave provision for geographical demographics. The study was ma~ly qualitative in nature. A survey was carried out to collect the primary data and additional secondary data was collected by the researcher during the field work process. Frequency distribution was used as a main method of data analysis as reports are presented in form of frequency tables, which are easy to conceptualize. The study revealed that household head levels of education motivate their commitment in ensuring their children go to school and acquire education. This study revealed that the AIDS driven fatalism to school participation work in synergy with negative attitudes arising from parental disillusion. The study further established that children living in mV/AIDS affected households are vulnerable and more prone to be infected by HlV due to their sudden change oflivelihood of children to being as caregivers.The study established that poor living conditions. in HIV affected households affect the children as sharing of rooms for children with fellow children or adults expose the children to risks of abuse and lack of freedom. This study also revealed that parents were unable to continue paying for children's fees at the private schools and hence were forced to transfer their children to public schools where education is free. Low income levels in households affected by mv / AIDS is a challenge especially in the provision of school materials like text books, school uniforms and writing materials. Stigma and trauma has been a continuous challenge in the society as some children may not want to attend school. Children living in HIV affected homes are more traumatized by the daily experiences they face both at school and at home. At school, the scorn and laughter by other children leads the children to be withdrawn and this has affected their performance. The children's prolonged shock and low resilience to any drastic changes in the family affects their attendance and performance in school since the children are traumatized. Given the analysis of the situation of education of children living in mY/AIDS affected households the study concludes and recommends that measures need be taken by the government to introduce appropriate technology that is affordable and easily adopted for sustainable agriculture and income generation. This ensures that HIV affected households make them food secure. The study recommends training of more skilled counseling at Primary school leveL The church should enhance provision of spiritual nourishment, friendship and companionship to families and children living in HIV affected homes. The community need to protect children affected and orphaned by HIV from social deviant behaviors like, early marriages, child labor, and alcollolism and encourage these children to continue with their education.