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Title: Transnational mothering among Kenyans in Portugal: experiences and perceptions
Authors: Namuleme, Rose
Orientador: Pereira, Cláudia Patrícia da Cruz
Guerreiro, Maria das Dores
Keywords: Migration
Transnational parenting
Transnational motherhood
Transnational mothers
Serviço social
Apoio social
Issue Date: 18-Jun-2019
Citation: NAMULEME, Rose - Transnational mothering among Kenyans in Portugal: experiences and perceptions [Em linha]. Lisboa: ISCTE-IUL, 2019. Dissertação de mestrado. [Consult. Dia Mês Ano] Disponível em www:<>.
Abstract: This study is vital for social work professionals in Portugal who can use the establishments to comprehend the difficulties faced by transnational mothers and find ways to support them on how to cope emotionally. This is a study among Kenyan transnational mothers in Portugal which aimed at exploring the parenting experiences and perceptions regarding parenting at a distance. The aim was to establish how Kenyan mothers in Portugal perform transnational parenting as well as what they perceive to be the roles of a mother. A qualitative methodology was employed using in-depth interviews as the major tool of data collection, alongside micro-ethnography with participant observation. Six participants were selected and interviewed in 2019, with children back in Kenya. The findings revealed that majority of the Kenyan mothers moved to Portugal in search better paying jobs and this was made possible by the support from migrant networks in Kenya and Portugal. Secondly, the findings further show that the Kenyan transnational mothers depend on communication through WhatsApp messages and video calls, as well as remitting financial help, to maintain their left behind children. Thirdly, the findings present how challenging it is for these mothers to be away from their children as it emotionally drains both the mothers and their left behind children. Regarding perceptions, the Kenyan transnational mothers held views that they are the primary care givers and that as mothers they ought to be present in their children’s lives. They also perceived themselves as the ones in charge of moulding their children’s behaviours. One of the main findings of the study is that the mothers felt grateful for the opportunity to provide quality education and basic needs for their left behind children. This made them feel empowered as mothers and the heads of their households in Kenya which promoted resilience, especially considering the increase in the quality of life provided to their children (Yamanaka & Piper, 2005). This made the participants so proud thus, expressing the empowering nature of migration for the Kenyan transnational mothers. This study is significant to social worker in relation to the need for social and psychological support towards transnational mothers and left behind children. Moreover, social workers may find useful to advocate for policies that avail visits and returns to maintain the human right to family reunification, which may ease transnational motherhood (ACP Observatory on Migration, 2012). The aim is to lower the negative effects of parent-child separation and enhance the wellbeing of parents and their children.
Peer reviewed: yes
Thesis identifier: 202276635
Designation: Mestrado em Erasmus Mundus em Serviço Social com Familias e Crianças
Appears in Collections:T&D-DM - Dissertações de mestrado

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