Vegetable garden for a Ukrainian social care home
Imagine a drab institution where seven hundred women spend their lives in complete idleness. Hardly any contact with family, hardly ever outside the institutional walls. The only daytime activity takes place in a small space where up to ten women can simultaneously do needlework or mend clothes behind the sewing machine. Their lives are a hopeless chain of empty days that run along the lines of a regime that applies to everyone. Everyone gets up at the same time, eats meals, goes to bed. Stripped of individuality.
This is not a bad dream, but the daily reality at the Svyatoshinsky social care home in Kyiv, Ukraine. Tens of thousands of men and women of all ages are often locked up for life in similar circumstances in one of the 145 institutions, social care homes, in the country. They are there because they have a psychiatric illness, an intellectual disability, or because they have nowhere else to go.
Our Human Rights in Mental Health-FGIP foundation started working there a few years ago. Together with the initially suspicious director, who gradually became more and more open to change, we took the first steps towards the humanization and gradual de-institutionalization of as many of the women as possible. “Transition departments” have been set up, where women have more freedom of movement and are allowed to furnish their own shared room, and work is being done on a unit where women are prepared for their return to society. There will also be computers for communication with the outside world and computer lessons. Revolutionary developments by Ukrainian standards.
We now ask for your support for the next step: the development of a vegetable garden on the grounds of the institution, where women can grow their own vegetables or create a garden; a first step towards a kind of care farm. The director has visited similar locations in the Netherlands and has enthusiastically returned to his country. This is possible with him too! We now want to help him realize this.
We ask for your financial support for our project. Every amount helps us to give the women in the Svyatosjinsky social care home a more humane life.
Global Initiative on Psychiatry-Benelus
IBAN: NL08 INGB 0000 8080 80
o.v.v. Svyatoshinsky boarding school