The stigma of having a child with a disability (and the financial burden) leads to parents feeling shame and fearing public opinion. Often children will be "hidden" away - maybe at home or in worse cases placing them into special boarding institutions. It is also not uncommon for fathers to abandon their wives if they chose to keep a child with disabilities, leaving her alone to cope with the challenges of raising a disabled child at home.

Fun in Belarus park

Hospital staff will still today suggest to parents to abandon a child born with disabilities and place it in a state care institution.

Unable to cope, a number of mothers committed suicide. A solution was needed to their problems of caring for their disabled children. Having to provide constant care for their children, these mothers cannot earn enough money to support themselves, and so remain trapped in the poverty cycle. There is little or no support for parents choosing to keep their disabled child at home, leaving the parents little choice but to leave their child at an institution.

Isle of Hope was founded in 1996 by a group of desperate parents. Children under the age of 18 can attend well run state centres for those living with disabilities, however, upon reaching 18 there is nowhere for the young people to go. 

Isle of Hope is open weekdays allowing parents to hold employment and support their families, thus enabling them to keep their child at home. It is one of the foremost day centres for young people with learning difficulties. However, local funding is extremely limited and ChildAid provides virtually all of the financial needs of the Centre.

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