This film caused an international outcry because the images of neglect were so shocking to witness in a country that had just become...
BBC Documentary Film Bulgaria's Abandoned Children!
I Made This Article Just In Case You Missed Kate Blewett's Documentary On TV. I thought it was extraordinary what Kate Blewett did but also heartbreaking to watch! Kate Blewett takes us into the tragic world of the children's Social Care Home in Mogilino, Bulgaria. In Kate's Words. The Social Care Home - where 75 unwanted children were growing up - was the main employer in the small village of Mogilino. Few of the children can talk, not necessarily for the reason that they were incapable but rather because no one has ever taught them how. Kate got to see the children in this heartbreaking, silent world, such as Milan, the gentle giant who spends his days doing chores and watching over the others, and mildly autistic 18-year-old Didi, who was able to talk, and had plenty to say, but no one to speak to. The children that surround them suffer a variety of problems, many are blind or deaf and some were unable to leave their beds, many are plainly wasting away. Dumped into the hands of the staff at Mogilino these children inhabit a bleak heartless world, so devoid of normal everyday stimulus that many have taken to rocking slowly and constantly in their chairs just for something to do. Bulgaria has more institutionalized mentally and physically disabled children than anywhere else in Europe. The film is a heart-rending and eye-opening look into the life of one such institution. These Are The Children Dumped Into The Hands Of The Mean Staff At Mogilino. This film caused an international outcry in 2007 because the images neglect were so shocking to witness in a country that had just become a member of the European Union.
Director Kate Blewett visited a children's care home in Bulgaria and investigated the conditions in which the children lived. Following the end of the film, the production team offered the Bulgarian Embassy in London the chance to comment on the findings made in the course of filming the documentary.
The Children Dumped Into the Hands of the Mean Staff at Mogilino.
The Children of Mogilino Social Care Home in Bulgaria
Abandoned children are the most vulnerable and most frequent victims of brutality, sickness, starvation, and death. In 2007 the original documentary is set in a small Bulgarian village in an institute called Mogilino, a place where 75 unwanted disabled children were growing up. The first part of the film shows the terrible damage done by inadequate care. The second part demonstrates the extraordinary transformation that can take place with the children with good care. Over nine months Kate followed the lives of some of the 75 mentally and physically disabled children of Mogilino Social Care Home.
Vasky's Life for 14 Years, Day in And Day Out. No Changes. - Mogilino 2007
Vasky is blind and was diagnosed with cerebral palsy when she was a three a condition many are labelled with there.
She was abandoned as a child, as were over half of the children in that room.
For some, their only disability is their blindness.
This Video May Upset You as It Upset Me
Milen is One of the Children in Mogilino, he had Been there 14 Years!
He doesn't speak, there was no education in Mogilino, but Milen fills his time by working for the staff. By helping out with the laundry, he gets outside, while the others remain confined within the building. Milen was also abandoned as a baby. His parents are both dead now, so his legal guardian is the institute director.
Didi Enjoyed Living With Her Mum Before She was Sent to Mogilino.
Didi is Autistic but Was Trying Hard to Adjust to Her New Environment.
Unlike many who have suffered years of institutionalization, Didi had only recently arrived there. Before this, she was living with her mother. Didi would write to her mother every day. But never had a reply back. Didi's mother couldn't cope with her living at home, so she sent her to Mogilino. Her mother knew unless she sent her far away, Didi would find her way back home.
A Third of These Children are Labelled as "Bed-Ridden".
Children In Bulgaria
Vaski is One of the Abandoned Children
Two Months Later, Kate Arrives Unannounced, Shortly After Dawn.
All The Clothes Were Communal. They Were Numbered to Identify Which Room They Belong to.
Whilst all the other girls were naked, Didi chooses to be dressed. She managed to hang on to a small purple handbag, where she keeps a few precious things. No-one else has any possessions. Most of the carers in the institute are women, yet this group of naked adolescent girls was being supervised by a man. A second man was showering the girls. Surely there were enough women there for naked girls to be helped by a female carer.
Didi Was Getting Worse
Abandoned Children Like Didi Suffer All Over The World
Milen Was Pleased to Get Someone's Attention, Somebody Actually Talking and Smiling With Him.
Milen Was Wary Of The Carer - Milen And His Friend Misho Were Ordered to Collect up The Toys And Put Them on The Boys Beds. But They Both Seemed on Edge.
Didi Still Had Hope and Never Gave Up Sending Letters to Her Mum
Vasky Was Still Suffering So Much
Kate Confronts The Director on Her Last Day at Mogilino-The Director Had Finally Agreed to Talk to Kate on Camera.
The Treatment These Children Received is Beyond Inhumane and Heart Wrenching in Every Sense of the Word. - This Documentary Was Particularly Hard For Me to Watc
Lies And More Lies About Bulgaria's Abandoned Children
Here I Have A Video That You Should See About Bulgaria's Abandoned Children
Under intense pressure from the media and the public, the government asked UNICEF to help the children of Mogilino. This led to medical assessments of every child, with some being hospitalized, suffering from severe malnutrition and neglect.
Kate Went Back Once Again to See How Didi,Vasky, Misho and Milen Were Getting Along After Relocation.
Didi Lives Now a Happier Life.
The last time Kate was with Didi, she was lost in an isolated world of rocking. Today she shares a bedroom with her best friend Fidanka. They are in a specialist adult boarding school for young people with educational problems. Didi's mother contacted the director when Didi first arrived there a year ago. That was the last the director heard from her. At school, Didi was learning one of her favourite subjects. All the students stay there for 3 years to learn social and life skills to help prepare them for the outside world. Some will graduate into jobs and live independently. Others like Didi who need more help will move into smaller homes with resident carers. After a year there, Didi was fitting in well. It was a different story when she first arrived and Fidanka was on the receiving end. Fidanka said she use to be wild and didn't get on with anyone, she would seat alone all the time. Until Fidanka found out she like glossy magazines after that they just became very close friends.
How Lovely To See Didi Happy
It Was Time to Visit Vasky! - What a Big Transformation. Kate Said She Was Unrecognisable.
Vasky Is In a Home For the Blind, Around 100 Miles Away From Mogilino.
The last time Kate had seen her she was in a pitiful condition. This time she looked happy and smiling, she had put on weight and was doing physiotherapy for her legs. She was mixing with people that talk to her and care for her.
Singing and cheerful, looking blissful. Like Didi, Vasky's mother also abandoned her to a life in institutes. Recently, Vasky's mother went to the local government and asked if her daughter could be moved closer to where she lived so she could visit her.
Later this year, Vasky will be moving into a smaller group home, and the hope is, her mother will visit.
It Was Now Time to Visit Milen! - He Looked Pleased and Amazed to See Kate!
This Was the First Time Kate Had Seen Milen Since His Abuse.
Milen is keen to go inside as he has something to show Kate. There are six other young people of mixed abilities living there. Milen and Misho went there after the abuse in Mogilino. The difference now is the fact that they have trained carers and are treated with respect. Everyone helps with daily household tasks. And Milen and Misho remain inseparable.
Misho Is Never Far Away From Milen.
Misho Was Happy There
Milen and Misho Will Live in This Small Group Home For The Rest of Their Lives.
When they first went there, they were very withdrawn and the staff found scars on their heads and bodies. Milen has watched the film over and over again. And with his carer, he likes to point out his Mogilino friends, and his abuser. Milen has a job now, he's proud of what he does and it gives him, Micho and their housemates a real sense of purpose. They get paid according to the quantity they produce. And last year their work bought them all a bonus of a holiday together. Like Didi, Vasky, Milen, and Misho, 48 of Mogilinos's 73 inmates have been moved to better homes. 25 Children were still in Mogilino when Kate left, but the care they received had greatly improved. But there are still enormous challenges ahead for the Bulgarian Government. Many other smaller, family-style homes need to be created for the 8,000 children still remaining in large institutes across the country. Bulgaria is one of the newest and poorest members of the European family, and the time has come for a united European rescue of these condemned children.
They surely must not be abandoned again.
Bulgaria's Abandoned Children's Trust Was Formed! - After the initial broadcast on the BBC.
Bulgaria's Abandoned Children's Trust was Funded Entirely by Donations From Viewers.
The trust now sends specialists to help the children and to give staff training. What became immediately obvious was that once children receive proper care and attention, their lives are transformed. Without the public's response to the film, Didi might well still be warehoused in Mogilino, slowly becoming hopelessly institutionalized. There has never been a proper system for placing these unwanted children. It has always been a bit of a gamble. A child was sent where there was space, regardless of the disability. Today with the right support Didi is thriving.
Thank You To Everyone That Helped Saving These Children. Thank You Kate Blewett! - Without Your Hard Work All That Pain Would Still Go On! Well Done!
A documentary created for the BBC Camera-Sean Lewis Researcher/ Interpreter-Maria Sharkova Location Fixer-Stefan Sharkov Production Co-Ordinator-Ruth McCarthy Edit Assistants-Tash Despa/Paddy Garrick Film Editor-Sean Lewis Music Composed & Performed by scrt-Steve Cooke & Russell Taylor Vocals-Harry Cooke Executive Producer for BBC Emma Willis Executive Producer-Brian Woods Produced and Directed by Kate Blewett.
Award-winning Documentary Filmmaker Kate Blewett
She recently returned to Bulgaria to see how things have changed after the international outcry in response to her film Bulgaria's Abandoned Children. Extraordinary impact To witness such human deterioration and to know the only way to truly affect change was to carry on filming and bring the documentary film to a wider audience - was an incredibly difficult process. However, the impact of Kate's film had has been extraordinary. Viewers wrote to her by the thousands, donating money, and forming petitions demanding change from their MPs and MEPs. Some gave up their jobs and went to Bulgaria to help, taking supplies, food, clothing and medical aid.
Bulgaria's Abandoned Children - Part 1
© 2011 Fatima Stevens
Bulgaria's abandoned children - Thank You For Reading.
Cynthia Haltom from Diamondhead on May 04, 2013:
Thanks for sharing I can see how this affected you as I sure it affects most people. Unfortunately, I have seen the complacent attitude of caregiving staff in many facilities I have visited. It is not uncommon for people in that position to take on this attitude as a survival instinct so as not to be affected by the poor treatment and accommodation provided for in many of these facilities.
anonymous on March 01, 2013:
hello, I hope i can reach Kate Blewett or someone that has the information on how to make donations or possibly send something to these places to help the progress continue. And i was also hoping to know how Stowen i believe was the name of the little blind boy that would just stand there like a statue...i was hoping to hear his whereabouts. Hoping and praying that all of these kids and those that we were not able to see are doing well...BETTER!!
anonymous on August 22, 2011:
Hello, I am a norwegian woman. I just wathed the documentary on TV and I was just shocked and felt physically sick when I realised how these children are treated.
It is so nice to see that a few have a better life now, but I can't help thinking about all those poor children who suffer everywhere around Bulgaria.
Is there any updated news?
I have so much trouble understanding the government of the country. How is it possible to let this happen???? Though poor, a country CAN NOT let this happen. It is beyond my wildest imagination.
KatBar on May 18, 2011:
That is so sad how people can treat these children.
norma-holt on February 25, 2011:
I watched that documentary in horror and tears. Thank you for bringing this to light again and with such strong presentation and passion. It is now *-*Blessed*-* and featured on Sprinkled with Stardust