Hesperian Health Guides

Community support for grieving families

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HealthWiki > Helping Children Live with HIV > Chapter 6: Helping children through death and grief > Community support for grieving families


Grieving families need support from their community. Soon after a death, they may need support for planning a funeral and making arrangements. Families may also need help caring for young children. Helping with simple tasks such as cooking, feeding, or washing can greatly support grieving families, especially if the person who died was the primary caregiver. See Chapter 15: Community support for children, for ideas.

Help new caregivers understand children

a man carrying a child talking to a woman
There is Mama Betty, Nala. Shall we ask about her goat?
Hello, Mama Betty. Nala is excited to see your goat again. I think it will help her — she really misses our mama today.
Hello Nala. You are welcome! I need to milk that goat soon. Would you like to watch?

If you know a child well, you may be able to help the child make a better change into a new family. Help the child and the new caregiver get to know one another better, to understand how the child shows grief, and what helps them.

Support children caring for children

After the death of both parents, an older sibling often takes care of the young children in the home. These young caregivers need support from their relatives and other adults in the community, especially if the children have extra needs such as disabilities, HIV or other illnesses.

You can support these young caregivers by giving them loving guidance and emotional support, by helping with food and financial support, and also by showing them respect as caregivers. This includes respecting decisions they make for their family and praising them to others.

a woman talking to a woman with 2 children
Hello, Rebecca, hello, June. That was a beautiful ceremony on Sunday. I wanted to give you my condolences again and bring you some bread.
Thank you. Don’t be shy, Sarah, you know Mrs. Chenge from across the road, don’t you?
a woman talking to a woman and a child
You know, my husband drives to the city every day. If you need a ride or to have him pick up medicine for you, he would be glad to help.
That would be such a help! The bus is so slow. Thank you very much.






This page was updated:27 Nov 2019