Parental influence is crucial

From Global development | The Guardian Mon Nov 26 2012, 00:01:17

Orphaned brothers say their parents and a childcare advocate encouraged them to be responsible and avoid a life of crime

Tabulani Nkosi, 21, and Themba Nkosi, 23, lost their mother when they were very young. Their father died suddenly in 2005. Since then, they have been looking after the family home with their older brother. They are supported by Catherine, a childcare advocate, whose role is to support vulnerable families to ensure they have access to services like education and financial assistance.

Child-headed households are common in the townships, and they reflect the impact that poverty, HIV and unemployment are having on family structures. However, boy-headed households are more unusual than girl-headed: it is usually the men rather than the women who leave the family home, often because of money issues or drink and drug abuse.

"It is because of our parents that we are responsible and have the skills to run a house, continue our education and look for jobs," says Themba. "There have been bad people who have tried to influence us negatively, but it is our upbringing that keeps us strong."

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