Child, Youth, and Family Studies, Department of


Document Type


Date of this Version



Published in Global Social Welfare (2019)


Copyright © 2019 Springer Nature Switzerland AG. Used by permission.


Urban refugees frequently fall outside of the scope of humanitarian assistance programs. Despite a growing body of research describing the experiences of urban refugees in low- and middle-income countries (LMICs) of first asylum, little is known about generational differences in perceived support in these contexts. This phenomenological study used in-depth, semi-structured interviews and small group discussions to identify sources and meanings of support among older adult (50+; n= 23) and younger adult (18–30; n= 11) Congolese refugees in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania. Family and fictive kin emerged as central sources of support across age groups. However, instrumental support was sought outside of extended family networks. Older adults relied on religious networks for material assistance while younger adults sought instrumental assistance from friends and nongovernmental organizations. Implications for practice include supporting the unique needs of older adult urban refugees through family reunification, multi-family support interventions, and delivering assistance through religious networks.