Our latest film 'Closing Krushari' gives insight in to what life was like for young people living in the institution and revisits some of Krushari's residents in their new home. In December 2015 the last young person left Krushari, and the institution was closed, for good.
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In Eastern Europe, it is common for children with disabilities to be raised in institutions.
In countries where health and social care is more developed, it’s hard for us to imagine. But it becomes embedded in the culture. Parents believe the experts who tell them they can’t look after their children properly. The system itself doesn’t want to change. Staff in the institutions aren’t uncaring. But poverty is grinding. Many fear they will lose their jobs. The culture goes on without question for decades.
This was the backdrop when Lumos was invited to help close Krushari; the most notorious and largest state institution in Bulgaria for children with severe and complex disabilities. Life expectancy was 11 years old. Children sent there were expected to die. Many did.
In this film, staff talk about Krushari and the work that Lumos did there to help them change the system.
“It was the saddest place I had been in my life.”
In December 2015 the last young person left Krushari, and the institution closed for good. Lumos provided expertise, good practice and prepared the children to leave. Most now live in small group homes where they receive individual attention. The doors are open and the children and young people are no longer locked away from the community.
Lumos changed the lives of these children and provided the country with a better way of looking after them.
“Lumos has become a magic word for us, spreading light in the darkness.”