While working on a student practical task in one of the Universities of Asia, in Department of Psychology, I had an opportunity to visit a boarding school for children with chronic psychic illnesses or underdevelopment. That was an unforgettable experience. The boarding school was an old ugly building on outskirts of a big city, behind a ravine, and very difficult to find without a guide. Our group of students, walked there for about 40 minutes, and eventually we found the high fence and gray building behind it.
We were asked to put on white doctor smocks, and after that we entered the building. First thing that shocked us, was very unpleasant smell inside the school, we met the director and she told us that unfortunately the amount of ill children had increased and it had been very difficult to find any donations or financial support for school. She asked us to bring old clothes if we could, because school could not support everybody and most parents just do not want to know and take care about their children. Some parents visit children ones or twice a year, and these children are considered lucky.
Then we were led to the girls’ part of the boarding school. There were girls of different ages, and as young specialists in the field of psychology we were surprised that there were children with different levels of underdevelopment in one single group. Some of them had only some chronic illnesses without mental disorders, but they were treated like mentally ill patients! The day schedule was the same for them everyday - they were sitting all in one room, all together about 35-40 children, or they had small walks around the building. I must admit that we had tears in our eyes, because it resembled a prison for little criminals.
These girls tried to hug us and we understood that they are in great need of love and attention. They were telling us that their parents would take them home soon. Some of older girls already had menstrual periods and they didn’t know what to do. Workers’ salary in this school is very low and there is no enough personal and nurses to help every child.
In the boys’ section of the school we saw very similar sad picture. About 35-40 children were sitting in one room with walls and chairs only. Some of the children had become degraded in those conditions.
Having had finished our practice most of us confessed, that during several days after the boarding school visit, they were seeing those children in their dreams at night while sleeping. That was a real shock for us. Most of us could not eat and sleep. Some of the students brought clothes and toys to that school.
This boarding school and other similar places are a very sad unknown side of the otherwise beautiful country and friendly people. Here in the United States, I have a huge wish and hope to find donations and support for the boarding school I visited 2 years ago.