Photographs by Yannis Kontos of the Kulina institution in Serbia.
In these institutions children are routinely tied to their bed railings for long stretches of time. It’s a widespread practice in Serbia, according to Laurie Ahern, associate director of Mental Disability Rights International (MDRI)
“People are just prisoners in these cribs, in these beds,” Ahern says. “We found people being tied up not for ten minutes, but hours. Four, five, six hours — and day after day after day.”
The institutions’ rationale for tying down children, Ahern says, is a lack of staff and resources. And without being exposed to any meaningful stimulation, many of the children are prone to hurting themselves when they’re unattended. “They are hitting themselves. They are biting themselves. I’ve seen children gouge out their eyes, rip off pieces of their ears, punch themselves till they’re black and blue.”
I honestly don’t know what to do anymore, I feel like I’ve reached such a low.
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