Friday, November 14, 2014

The disabled children locked up in cages

by Chloe Hadjimatheou

BBC News

November 14, 2014

Disabled people in Greece are often stigmatised and can struggle to get the support they need. Some disabled children who live in a state-run home are locked up in cages - staff say they want to improve conditions but money is short.

Nine-year-old Jenny stands and rocks backwards and forwards, staring through the bars of a wooden cage.

When the door is unlocked she jumps down on to the stone floor and wraps her arms tightly around the nurse. But a few minutes later she allows herself to be locked back in again without a fuss.

She is used to her cage. It's been her home since she was two years old.

Jenny, who has been diagnosed with autism, lives in a state-run institution for disabled children in Lechaina, a small town in the south of Greece, along with more than 60 others, many of whom are locked in cells or cages.

Fotis, who is in his twenties and has Down's syndrome, sleeps in a small cell separated from the other residents by ceiling-high wooden bars and a locked gate. His cell is furnished only with a single bed. There are no personal possessions in sight anywhere in the centre.


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