Monday, 19 November 2007

Mogilino Care Home

I didn't see all of this, only the last half hour. Painful, very difficult viewing, but I kept watching Kate Blewett's documentary about a social care home for abandoned, disabled children in Mogilino, Bulgaria. The children are basically clothed and fed (what looked like animal feed), but they're wasting away, their limbs like dried-up sticks, their bodies and minds utterly deprived of stimulation and fresh air. Medical care seems non-existent. The staff are almost pathologically oblivious. A young girl writing letters over and over to her mother, folding them, never sending them, tucking them into her worn purple handbag. Her mother has told the institute she never wants contact with her daughter, but the staff tell her anyway that 'her mummy is coming for her'. She packs her plastic bag and waits, she is in a constant state of waiting. A small boy has had a thumb - gangrenous from being sucked - amputated. A young girl, emaciated, with a broken leg awkwardly splinted, wearing a nappy, lying in bed, desolately, asking if she can go out. (My impression was that the staff had not at first realised her leg was broken, God knows what agony the child had gone through beforehand.) A lot of the children are rocking, one boy hitting the wall repeatedly. Another boy blowing a kiss out of window to the camera. Two mute children have been beaten by the laundry man.

Kate Blewett talks about the children being 'warehoused for life'. One in fifty Bulgarian children are abandoned to care homes. One grown man, in a home for adults, saying more than anything else he wants a mother. There are holes in the floor, not the carpet, the floor. A man called Bobo dancing to a cheap radio.

The director of Mogilino refused to be filmed until the end. She blamed the staff for the neglect of the children and said the home was so lovely she would stay there herself. She defended herself by saying she'd bought three umbrellas for the swimming pool, so she must be a good director. Her clinical detachment about the plight of the children was hard to believe. These children are basically being left die or go insane through physical and emotional neglect. There is no justification for this, any of it. The documentary seems to have had some impact, let's hope these wretched little lives can be hugely improved.

10 comments:

Karen said...

Yes, I too viewed the whole thing last night. I cried my eyes out and have not slept. I have never been so deeply afected. I have done nothing today at work but look for ways I can help. A lot of ggod info on the BBC website and it looks like Kate Blewett's team are really making a difference and I've signed up to help... http://www.tbact.org
Take Care of you and yours Karen

NMJ said...

Hey Karen, I know, you just wantd to cradle every one of the children in your arms.

Rebecca T said...

im only 14 and this was the most depressing documentry i had ever seen! i cudnt sleep last night due to thinking about all those suffering kidz, they could of lived a beter life if they were loved and cared for. i am now looking for ways to raise any type of money i can! it was so so sad.

NMJ said...

Hey Rebecca, I think you feel so powerless, unless you can physically go there and rescue them from the situation. Great you are thinking of ways to raise money.

Sabina Besic said...

I just want to say that I saw the documentary last night which chilled me to the bone. I could not stop crying for all the children of Mogilino, no one deserves to live like that, especially children. I too could not sleep all night because I couldn't stop thinking of those children who are so hungry for love and care and most of all a childhood. Shame on Bulgarian government to allow such montrocities and breach of human rights to happen right in front of their noses.

NMJ said...

hey sabina, we can only hope the children's lives improve as a result of the documentary.

Anonymous said...

the neglect of these children (or any other children for that matter) by their birth parents doesn't mean we can be sadistic towards them.

This reminds me of another programme where a reporter went to see some women in an asylum in Pakistan. Some of them were driven insane from being shut up in such places.

M

Eleanor Jane said...

One moment really touched during that documentary. It was when Didi reached out to hold the hand of the deaf and mute boy saying "you're really handscome". And he was, despite all he had been through. THe physical contact between them brough a momentary smile to their faces and a glimmer of hope to the viewer. I felt if they could have run away and made a go of it on their own they would have. God would have looked after them.
Eleanor Jane

NMJ said...

hey eleanor, i didn't see all of the programme first time, though it was repeated recently, but i made the decision not to watch it again, it was so upsetting. though part of me wanted to see the whole story.

Acumenata said...

In response to Elanor Jane's comment: >>I felt if they could have run away and made a go of it on their own they would have. God would have looked after them.<<

No, Elanor Jane. God would not have looked after them. That is OUR responsibility as human beings.

To imagine that there could be a hands-off fairy-tale ending to such a story is an ill-considered attitude, no less imaginary than Didi's dogged belief that her mother would come to rescue her.

While I'm sure you mean well and the thought that there could be a magical, warm, fuzzy ending comforts you, perpetuating that delusion about people in need is irresponsible. Passing the buck to God is as harmful to the people condemned to such misery as the attitudes of the Mogilino facility director and the Bulgarian officials who deny that the problem is severe enough to warrant outrage and intervention by the EU and the rest of the world.

Look around you. God does not step in and rescue people in such situations. People must. It is your responsibility and mine.