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THE SOCIO-CULTURAL CHALLENGES OF INTERNAL IMMIGRANT ADOLESCENTS IN KENYA; THE CASE OF KARIRANA TEA ESTATE, LIMURU.
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ABSTRACT

Adolescence is a transitory stage of growth between childhood and adulthood. It is characterized by biological, physical, psychological, and social changes that the adolescent is rarely adequately prepared for or equipped to cope. It is an exciting yet confusing part of human development. Unfortunately due to the twin process of industrialization and globalization, the extended family who used to prepare children about this period no longer do so leading to the breakdown of social norms and development of adolescence as a new social phenomenon in Kenya. Not much is known about this phenomenon and specifically among the residents of Tea Estates.

The research objectives were to establish the social cultural challenges of adolescence, to

determine the effect of the cultural gap and to investigate the role and effectiveness of life skills programme offered in high school in helping the internal immigrant adolescents of Karirana cope with the social cultural challenges of adolescence. Karirana Tea estate is a large scale tea plantation located in Limuru Constituency approximately 40 KMs from Nairobi capital city and seventy percent of the labour force is recruited from Nyanza and Western. Their adolescents suffer from myriad social cultural challenges as a result of growing away from their home culture that have not been documented and hence this research sought to establish these challenges and the effectiveness of life skills programmes in addressing these challenges. The researcher interviewed students currently in school and drop outs for comparison purpose. The target schools were Tigoni and Gitiha High schools and dropouts residing within Karirana Tea Estate. The two schools were selected as they are the only public school in the area where the students of Karirana attend. A total of 45 students were interviewed and 30 drop outs using both the lottery and purposeful sampling techniques. The researcher in addition used the schools’ principals, the area chief and the factory’s supervisors as key informant guides on top of questionnaires and focused group discussion. Descriptive statistics were used to show distributions, relationships between variables, percentages and texts. Qualitative data was analyzed manually and emerging themes presented in narrative form. The study established that the school drop outs experience more social cultural challenges than the students currently in school. This is due to the life skills programme offered in schools and the entire teaching fraternity. These challenges include attraction of the opposite sex, negative peer influence, rebellion, and mood swings. The internal immigrant adolescents also suffer the additional challenges of identity crisis as a result of growing away from their home area and not fitting in the culture of their hosts. The study further established that the life skills programme is emerging as an effective way forward in helping adolescents currently in school to deal with the stated social cultural challenges and filing the cultural role of preparing the adolescents In view of the importance of education in dealing with the social cultural challenges, Karirana Tea factory needs to ensure greater involvement of parents in their children’s education and guide them accordingly to ensure that most of them complete high school. The factory needs to ensure that parents are equipped with the relevant skills to prepare their children for the social

cultural challenges of adolescence. In addition, the Ministry of education should look into the possibility of streamlining the life skills programme in all schools. Lastly, the County

Administration should intensify security for the internal immigrants residing in Karirana during the forthcoming general election.