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Understanding the experiences of Ismaili Afghan refugee children through photo conversations Open Access


Other title
Afghan refugee children
Afghan culture
Hermeneutic photography
Gadamer's hermeneutic philosophy
Photo conversations
Type of item
Degree grantor
University of Alberta
Author or creator
Kanji, Zeenatkhanu
Supervisor and department
Dr, Cameron, Brenda (Faculty of Nursing)
Examining committee member and department
Dr. Berman, Helene (School of Nursing, University of Western Ontario)
Dr. Kirova, Anna (Faculty of Education)
Dr. Ogilvie, Linda (Faculty of Nursing)
Dr. Knight, Andy (Political Science)
Faculty of Nursing

Date accepted
Graduation date
Doctor of Philosophy
Degree level
Children are rarely asked about their experiences in the aftermath of war. Each child if given an opportunity has a unique and precious story to share. It is most likely that embedded within their experiential stories are essences of resilience. The purpose of this study was (1) to understand the phenomenon of resilience in an exploratory way with regard to how Afghan refugee children adapt despite facing adversities in the aftermath of war, and (2) to contribute to the knowledge of nursing science and practice for healthy childhood development. The core research question was: What are the experiences of Afghan refugee children currently living in Canada in the aftermath of war? The sub question was: How do Afghan refugee children describe their experiences of day-to- day life? Gadamer’s (1960/1989) hermeneutic philosophy was used to understand the experiences of Afghan children in the aftermath of war. In addition, hermeneutic photography, which is based on the methodology of hermeneutic (interpretive) inquiry, was used as the methodological approach as well as method. Data were collected with the aid of photographs of the children’s own choice. Two to three photo conversations were done with seven children residing in Edmonton, Alberta. The participants ranged between the ages of 13 to 17; five were females and two were males.They were all born in Afghanistan and had two parent families and belonged to the Shia sect of Islam specifically,the Shia Imami Ismaili Muslims. Gadamer’s approach to data analysis was adopted throughout the study. Four themes emerged that described the day-to-day life experiences of the Afghan refugee children: (a) cherishing the family; (b) treasuring the Afghan culture; (c) creating opportune spaces to dwell; and (d) building and sustaining resilience. Recommendations were drawn as a useful guide from the findings of this study for education, practice, policy development, and future research to benefit Afghan refugee children and their families to dwell in a new country.
License granted by Zeenatkhanu Kanji ( on 2009-09-02T01:37:37Z (GMT): Permission is hereby granted to the University of Alberta Libraries to reproduce single copies of this thesis and to lend or sell such copies for private, scholarly or scientific research purposes only. Where the thesis is converted to, or otherwise made available in digital form, the University of Alberta will advise potential users of the thesis of the above terms. The author reserves all other publication and other rights in association with the copyright in the thesis, and except as herein provided, neither the thesis nor any substantial portion thereof may be printed or otherwise reproduced in any material form whatsoever without the author's prior written permission.
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File title: CHAPTER ONE:
File author: Zeenatkhanu Husein Alibhai Visram
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