Journal of Education & Social Policy

ISSN 2375-0782 (Print) 2375-0790 (Online) DOI: 10.30845/jesp

Exploring how Early School Dropouts Cope as Survivalist Entrepreneurs: A Case Study
Dr. Thulani E. Mhlongo, PhD

This article reports on the findings of a research project that was designed to explore how early school leavers cope as survivalist entrepreneurs. The project had four purposes, namely: to determine demographics of this group; to find out how they survive; to get some insight into their historical background and to determine variations among vendors in their experiences of street vending. 20 participants were selected randomly. Qualitative Data was collected using individual interviews, observation, a tape recorder and reflective notes. Data was analyzed using open coding. All participants were school drop-out boys who did not complete their secondary school education. Consequently, they lack specialized knowledge and skills on how to grow their business. About 70% were immigrants from neighboring countries. Surprisingly, these boys are able to support themselves and survive as street sellers. The biggest challenge identified by this particular group was weather conditions and harassment by law officials. To improve their working conditions it is up to local municipality to develop rational policies for understanding the poor street vendors by treating them as part of the broader structural policies aimed at improving their standard of living.

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