Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Social Work (MSW)


Social Work


Lyle S. Hallman Faculty of Social Work

First Advisor

Martha Kuwee Kumsa

Advisor Role

Thesis Supervisor


The purpose of this research is to explore the experience of bullying among Sudanese refugee youths living in Kitchener-Waterloo. Voices in the literature assert that bullying is experienced differently by different social groups. This study proposes to understand the phenomenon of bullying from the unique perspectives of Sudanese refugee youths. As a White middle-class Canadian-born woman, I consider myself a partial outsider to this group. As a partial outsider, I use reflexive strategies to constantly reflect on the impact of my social location on the participants and on the whole research process. To understand how Sudanese youths experienced bullying, I employ the interpretive research orientation and qualitative methods of data generation. According to the interpretive orientation, meaning-making is a collaborative and participatory process. Therefore, I use reflexive strategies to make visible the ways in which I am implicated in the co-construction of meaning. I also use Participatory Action Research methodology not only to make sense of the young refugees’ experiences of bullying but also to explore possibilities of change and transformation in the school system and in the lives of immigrant youths. I gathered the voices of Sudanese youths in seven in-depth interviews involving nine participants. They all shared narratives of their experiences of bullying and observations in bullying. In their bullying narratives, they described the way in which their lived experiences and social location impact their sense making, weaving through aspects of their cultural values and the impact of layers of discrimination. Also, they broadened the concept of the bully to be both an individual and part of a collective bully, interweaving micro, meso and macro layers of relational oppressive forces. Each individual and collective bully behaved in ways to make youths more vulnerable than they already might be as new kids. Their vulnerability as new kids, their cultural values and their life experiences influenced not only their role as a victim, but also their role as a third party. In their attempts to ameliorate situations of bullying, interview participants experienced barriers for effective support by school administrations. The findings of this study advance our understanding of the experiences of bullying of Sudanese youths. The findings show how a youth’s meaning making system impacts the way in which they experience bullying and subsequent support from schools. The implications of these findings are discussed with potential recommendations for practice and policy.

Convocation Year


Convocation Season


Included in

Social Work Commons