Wednesday, January 8, 2014

News from Georgia: Georgia's disabled 'locked in a box'

By Rayhan Demytrie
BBC News, Tbilisi



Georgia has become one of the first ex-Soviet republics to abolish state orphanages in favor of foster care. But disabled children continue to be marginalized and face the prospect of life-long isolation from society.

Vano (not his real name) is 18. He lies curled in the fetal position in his bed. He is thin and has the body of a 10-year old.

The only sign to show that he is alive is the grating sound he makes with his teeth.

"This is his life. This is all he does," says Eric Mathews, a researcher from the Washington-based group, Disability Rights International (DRI), sitting by Vano's side.

"The staff here told us that he has not left his bed except to get washed for five years. This bed is his home."

Vano has cerebral palsy. He is one of 22 children living in Kojori Institution for Children with Disabilities on the outskirts of the Georgian capital, Tbilisi.

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