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This paper examines Congolese children’s experiences of war and displacement in the context of the material, social, and relational aspects of their lives in Dar es Salaam. It argues that the challenges, privations and indignities of daily life in urban Tanzania were characterised by feelings of loss, deprivation and hardship so intense they were felt by many to be as or more devastating in their brutality than was life in the midst of war. In so doing, the paper raises profound questions about what kind of ‘protection’ we are providing to children in these circumstances, and for what purpose.

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