Graduation Year


Document Type




Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.)

Degree Granting Department

Curriculum and Instruction

Major Professor

Brenda L. Walker, Ph.D., J.D.

Committee Member

Elizabeth Doone, Ph.D.

Committee Member

Janet Richards, Ph.D.

Committee Member

Deirdre Cobb-Roberts, Ph.D.


education, needs, orphans, history


There is little in the body of literature about the experience of orphans and vulnerable children (OVC) in Ghana from their perspectives. In this inquiry, four adult orphans and one doctoral candidate employed a narrative framework to share their stories about growing up in a children’s home in the Central Region of Ghana and how their lives converged as they spent time together over the course of two and one half years. Through narrative interviews and conversations with the participants, themes of food insecurity, bullying, lacking basic needs, and finding emotional support in peers emerged. In addition, each participant shared the importance of education in their lives. The participants also shared words of wisdom for those who currently reside in the children’s home and share uncertainties about the future. Data in the form of journal entries and reflections, illuminated my transformation into the person who journeyed to Ghana, created relationships with participants, and grew as a researcher. Our stories captured our time together, our shared love for education, and for each other.