This study explored the phenomena of pre-adolescents growing up in an informal settlement and explored how needs and wants influenced their value and moral formation. The research was located within the specific context of a qualitative interpretivist study. A phenomenological research design was used to highlight how these young people construct their personal identities rooted in their unique value and moral structures. The criteria used to choose the participants included pre-adolescents between the ages of 10 and 14 who lived alone without parental care or who were left alone for long periods during the day. The selected participants were young people who were daily exposed to adverse conditions and who had to make real life choices. Data on how these pre-adolescents viewed their situation were collected using stick figures, collages, drawings and observations, followed by in-depth individual and focus group interviews and discussions on moral dilemmas. The aim of interviewing the young people personally was to explore their own views of the realities of their lived experiences and how they perceived the world around them. From the empirical evidence and the theories studied a number of significant themes emerged that indicated a strong need for emotional and social support, besides their obvious material needs. The major themes were (1) family and community, (2) emotional needs, (3) financial and material needs, (4) protection and security, (5) moral choices and needs, (6) education and (7) religion. The findings of the study revealed that individuals progress through various stages of moral growth and development as they grow from childhood to adulthood, and that children are not born with an innate moral or value system. These have to be taught through the process of socialisation whereby they learn social values, morals, attitudes and expectations as these are communicated from one person to another. The findings also showed that these young people are able to act in a caring, concerned, altruistic and resilient manner, just as much as they are able to act in a destructive manner. These young people are as able to do good just as they are able to do bad things. They have a strong sense of moral rightness and wrongness and the values that underpin morality. It showed that even when their basic human needs are unmet they can still make choices that reflect good moral values. They have the capacity to transcend themselves and to make radical change in their personal lives and in turn contribute to the well being of a better society. Since this was an exploratory study of specific marginalised young people in a particular environment which focused more on pre-adolescents’ espoused theory and how they would act if faced by moral dilemmas, it suggests the need for further exploration and research on the theory in action by studying the reasons why preadolescents engage in at-risk behaviour. SEPEDI : Thuto ye e hlohlomiša ponagalo e kgolô ya baswa bofalalelong bjo e sego bja tlwaelo, gomme ya hlohletša ka moo dinyakwa le dihlokwa di tutueditšego popego ya metheo le setho. Nyakišišo ye e ile ya ela khwalithi ya seo se nyakišiswago tlhoko. Go somišitšwe moakanyetšo wa phatišišoponagalo go tšweletša ka fao baswa ba bopago boitšhupo bjo bo letšego popegong ya mehola le boitshwaro bja bona. Kêlo ye e šomišitšwego e aparetše baswa gare ga mengwaga ye 10 go iša go 14; bao ba phelago ba le tee, go se na tlhokomelo ya batswadi goba bao ba tlogelwago ba le tee nako ye telele mosegare. Batšeakarolo be e le baswa bao ba bego ba lebanwe ke maemo a šoro gomme ba swanetse go ikethela tsela. Data ya ka moo baswa bao ba lebelelago maemo a bona, e ile ya kgoboketšwa go šomišwa diphata, dibopego tšeo di gomareditšwego, dithalwa le temogo ye e latelwago ke poledišano le mongwe le mongwe, goba sehlopha ka ga mathata a boitshwaro. Maikemišetšo a poledisano le baswa ke go nyakišiša dikgopolo tša bona ka ga bonnete bja maitemogelo, le ka moo ba bonago lefase. Go tšwa bohlatseng bja boitekelo bjo, le go teori tše di nyakišitšwego, go bonagetše nyakego ya thekgo ya khuduego le leago, gape le tša dinyakwa tša bophelo. Dintlhakgolo di bile (1) lapa le tikologoleago (2) dinyakwa tša moya (3) dinyakwa tša tšhelele le didirišwa (4) tšhireletšo le potego (go lotega) (5) boitshwaro le dihlokwa (6) thuto (7) bodumedi. Dikhwetšo tša thuto ye di utollotše gore mongwe le mongwe o tšwelela dikgatong tše mmalwa tša kgolô ya boitshwaro le tšweletšopele ge ba ntše ba gola go tšwa bjaneng go ya bogolong; le gore bana ga ba belegwe ba na le mokgwa wa maitshwaro wa tlhago. Tšeo di rutwa ka tsela ya phedišano; ka fao ba ithute kagišano, maitshwaro bjale ka ge di hlagiswa ke batho ba bangwe. Khumano e laeditse gape gore baswa ba kgona go hlokomela, ba amege, ba be le phanô, gape ba itshware ka tsela ye e sa swanelago. Baswa ba kgono dira botse, ba fetoge ba dire bobe. Ba na le moya wa setho le moya wa tshenyo; gape le theô ye e laetšago maitshwaro a botse. E bontšhitse le gore, le ge dinyakwa tša bona di sa kgotšofatswe, ba kgono kgetha ba laetše maitshwaro a mabotse. Ba na le maatla a go feta mathateng, ba fetole maphelo a bona gomme ba be le kabelo go kaonafatša tikologoleago. Ka ge se e bego e le fela thutotlhotlhomišo ya baswa bao ba lego mellwaneng ya bophelo tikologong e itšego, gomme ya ikamanya fela go teori ya baswa le ka moo batla itshwarago, ge ba lebanwe le mathata a setho, e laetša nyako ya tlhotlhomišo e tseneletšego, e tšwelago pele ka nyakišišo ya teori ye ka go ithuta mabaka ao a dirago maitshwaro a.