Vulnerability and resilience of refugee women and children

Hadijah Mwenyango*, George Palattiyil

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter (peer-reviewed)peer-review

Abstract / Description of output

Although migration is often perceived as an immediate response to humanitarian crises, people affected by forced displacement face significant risks and vulnerability. Drawing on mixed-methods research findings from Uganda’s Nakivale Refugee Settlement, this chapter examines the conceptualisation of vulnerability in refugee spaces and provides possibilities for recovery through strengths and resilience perspectives. The findings illustrate the key physical threats, limited social networks and community support, economic difficulties and poverty, remoteness and isolation, and structural oppression. Although refugees adapt and live, their lives paint a complex picture of human rights violations, exclusion and discrimination. Refugee protection should therefore not stop at settling them in gazetted spaces. Instead, owing to social work’s commitment to social justice, human rights and empowerment, a strength-based and resilience perspective obliges that in addition to reducing risks, social work specialists must support vulnerable populations in sustainably managing emergent risks. Individual refugees and communities must be supported in building resilience by removing obstacles to personal development and access to resources. Increased access to safe spaces for recreation, psychosocial and vocational training might empower vulnerable groups and expand their social networks. We propose rights-based advocacy, community awareness and advocacy for structural reforms to reduce vulnerability, oppression and social exclusion.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationRemaking Social Work for the New Global Era
EditorsNgoh Tiong Tan, P.K. Shajahan
PublisherSpringer, Cham
Chapter5
Pages59-76
Number of pages18
Edition1st
ISBN (Electronic)9783031083525
ISBN (Print)9783031083518, 9783031083549
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 31 Aug 2022

Keywords / Materials (for Non-textual outputs)

  • migration
  • refugees
  • resilience
  • rights
  • social work
  • strengths-based approaches
  • vulnerability
  • women and children

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