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Story Publication logo October 14, 2019

Russian Boarding House: Elena

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Image by Anastasia Udenko. Russia, 2015.
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Seven Dates

"Seven Dates" explores the impact of sexual segregation in psycho-neurological boarding houses in...

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Elena and her son are staying at a hospital before handing the child to an orphanage. Image by Anastasia Rudenko. Russia, 2017.
Elena and her son are staying at a hospital before handing the child to an orphanage. Image by Anastasia Rudenko. Russia, 2017.

Elena and her son are staying at the hospital as part of a preparation before handing the child over to an orphanage. Elena would like to leave her son there until she finds a job.

At the age of 8, Elena was given over to an orphanage by her mother and later transferred to a psycho-neurological boarding house. Two years ago, after Elena got pregnant the boarding school administration kept her in isolation and tried to force her to have an abortion. She was taken to the hospital for an abortion but she ran away and gave birth to a son four months later. At present, she is staying with her mother.

People with psycho-neurological diagnoses are stigmatized by society all over the world and their human rights are often violated.

Over 150,000 people live in Russia's psycho-neurological boarding houses, closed institutions where they must spend their lives, but only a third of the residents are incapable of leading an independent life. The rest of them experience the same needs and feelings as we, the lucky ones who live freely. Most of these people would like to have a loving family and a child, but only a few get a chance to realize this need.

In my web documentary, titled "Seven Dates," I attempt to show the private stories of people living in psycho-neurological boarding houses in Russia with the focus on their need and right for love, physical, parental or maternal.

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