The BBC 4 documentary, "Ukraine's Forgotten Children", highlighted the best and the worst of Ukraine. The worst is a social system still stuck in Soviet times, with disabled children and adults hidden away in institutions without proper care or medical attention, and instances of abuse of their human rights; and a legal system that allows parents to sign away their children to the state, and can take away an individual's rights by categorising them as 'incapacitated'. The best is the caring, compassionate and enlightened carers and campaigners who were challenging the status quo and doing everything they could to help those in their care reach their full potential.

Ukraine's street children have also been in the news, with a Channel 4 documentary some weeks ago and now a BBC story about how football is helping to change the lives of just some of the estimated 160,000 street children in Ukraine.

Read more about the BBC4 documentary here (in Ukrainian) and about street children and football here (in English).

Ukraine clearly has a long way to go to tackle the very real social problems it faces and to change the way in which the social system deals with disabled and disadvantaged children and adults - to take away the stigma and support their development within caring families and in society. The spotlight on Ukraine's social issues opens them up to scrutiny and debate. Hopefully, Ukraine's politicians will take up the challenge with real commitment, energy and resources.

If you missed the programme, you can see it by clicking here.

Ukrayinska Dumka


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