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Master Thesis

War and community disorganisation: a case study of the impact of the Rwandan crisis, 1990-2000, on the family structure and stability among Rwandese in exile in Nairobi

Abstract : 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 ,these responsibility interfere with their education, deny them the chance to grow, and become a very painful experience. By becoming the sole breadwinners, women also become the family's decision makers. This renders the men powerless and they loose authority before their wives and children.
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Master Thesis
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Bibiane Nyiramana. War and community disorganisation: a case study of the impact of the Rwandan crisis, 1990-2000, on the family structure and stability among Rwandese in exile in Nairobi. Sociology. 2002. ⟨dumas-01267395⟩

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