Deinstitutionalisation of Children in Georgia

As I’ve already mentioned on this blog, in November last year I again ventured out with EveryChild, a British children’s charity with a country office in Georgia, to document the process of deinstitutionalisation in the country. The field trips also included returning to Kutaisi, which I had visited in 2007 for the Newport-Kutaisi Twinning Association and EveryChild.

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First Step Georgia, Kutaisi

Last week’s field trip to Kutaisi with EveryChild and EveryChild Georgia saw me pay a return visit to First Step Georgia, a local NGO working for children with special needs. The last time was in 2005 when I visited their centre in Tbilisi while also looking at the situation of children with disabilities enrolled into Soviet-era institutions, now thankfully closed.

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Boarding Schools in Armenia

It’s disappointing when issues I covered 10 years ago remain a problem even today. Earlier this year Armenia Now reported that there still 4,900 children enrolled into Armenia’s Soviet-era, dilapidated boarding schools. That’s a far cry from the 12,000 that were attending when I covered the issue in 2003, but in neighboring Georgia a process of deinstutionalization has reduced the numbers to just a few hundred. It might even be lower now.

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Vardashen Special Educational Complex

More from the archive on children in residential care in Armenia, but this time the Vardashen Special Educational Complex in Yerevan for children with ‘behavioral disorders.’ In 2003, working in cooperation with MSF-France who used some of my photographs for their advocacy campaign in Armenia, I managed to get permission to photograph in Vardashen.

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Yerevan’s Boarding School for the Blind and Visually Impaired

Yesterday’s post on children in institutions in Georgia reminded me of the work I’ve done on the same issue in Armenia. And recent news about the achievements of one former pupil makes it relevant to post first on Yerevan’s Boarding School for the Blind and Visually Impaired. Unfortunately, other news from earlier this year also makes the post timely as the school still remains in need of assistance and support.

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Land of Tortured Souls: Chambarak and Sevan

Last night, as I was going through one of my external drives of old images, I came across some of the photos I took when visiting Chambarak and Sevan with Médecins Sans Frontières-Belgium. The reason for that visit to two of the most impoverished towns in Armenia was to shoot additional material for my personal project on poverty, and specifically a component on psychiatric patients.

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