Village of Kalinovka, Zaporozhye Region, Ukraine
The Kalinovka facility is located far off the beaten track in rural southeastern Ukraine. It is 52 km. as the crow flies east from Melitopol and 45 km. south of the county (raion) seat of Chernigov. To travel by car from Zaporozhye, the oblast (provincial) capital requires some two-and-one-half hours. The last 10 km. to Kalinovka, after turning west off of P48 from Tokmak, follow a single-lane, gloriously potholed road.
Kalinovka was long “closed” and off limits to visitors. Until the volunteers of the Schastlivyi Rebyonok (Happy Child) charity began to visit in early 2007, it was nearly impossible to know what was going on there. Stories from persons in the surrounding villages, familiar with the internat, nonetheless painted a bleak picture.of malnourished, poorly clothed children; of gifts brought for the children disappearing, of inspectors receiving bribes to overlook glaring problems. Recent visits by Happy Child volunteers confirm these stories: staff are too few; one aide, for example, must feed thirteen or more patients, some of whom cannot easily swallow or digest normal food. As a result, the most severely disabled can die of malnutrition. Only quick intervention by Albert Pavlov of Happy Child saved five-year-old Andryusha recently from death.
Many bedfast children are incontinent; there has been a perennial dearth of disposable diapers. This despite “full” state funding for the children! Bedsores are a problem. All heads, including the girls, are cut close to prevent lice. Even so, children with skin infections appear on photographs. Until January 2008 there was apparently no physical therapy or massage, essential care for children with cerebral palsy. Many of these children carry the classification of “Idiot” or “Imbecile”, so there is no effort to teach them. Worst of all, they receive too little love and attention. The best that can be said is that Kalinovka has been a warehouse for the disabled. Male children who survive to age eighteen, if not kept on to work on the farm, may be sent to a similar internat for disabled adults at Orlov (Ohrloff).
For more details, visit:
Happy Story Episode 2: “You’re not special, you’re BROKEN!” — 6 abandoned children prove them wrong
The Chernigov Facility at Kalinovka: a “Home” for Disabled Children
Future Youth Project’s Journey to Kalinovka
Nutrition that can save lives
Photography by our volunteer Tamara Granatkina