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Mothers of Children Without Citizenship: Lived Experiences of Iranian Women Married to Afghan Immigrants

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Not having citizenship is a huge obstacle for children receiving formal education, having a healthy lifestyle, and generally having the right to live in the modern world. The present study employed a qualitative/descriptive phenomenological design to explore the lived experiences of Iranian mothers married to Afghan immigrants. The research population included all Iranian women with one or more children living in Tehran Province in 2022. Using purposive sampling with emphasis on snowball sampling and based on the saturation rule, the research sample consisted of 25 women with children and Afghan husbands. The data were collected through face-to-face semi-structural interviews and were then analyzed using Colaizzi’s seven-step method. Data analysis revealed three main themes including “social problems and an unknown future awaiting children,” “the public negative view and rejection,” and “legal problems of Iranian women with Afghan husbands.” The findings of this study showed that legal gaps in the marriage of Iranian women with Afghan men leads to psychological and social challenges and widespread poverty in this group of mothers and their children. A lack of citizenship makes it difficult to provide social work services for these mothers.

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Because it is a qualitative research, the interview data is included in the text of the article.


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Correspondence to Anahita Khodabakhshi-Koolaee.

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Khodaparast, H., Khodabakhshi-Koolaee, A. Mothers of Children Without Citizenship: Lived Experiences of Iranian Women Married to Afghan Immigrants. J. Hum. Rights Soc. Work 8, 361–369 (2023).

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