‘Their only future is Ukraine’: Disabled orphans find temporary shelter amid Russian invasion
FROM THE OUTSIDE, THE LOOK OF JOY.
BUT TO headmaster PETER ZAGARSKY… IT’S BETTER DESCRIBED AS A SHOW OF RESILIENCE.
ZAGARSKY: “you see this on their faces… this is their new home.”
THESE 24 UKRAINIAN ORPHANS…NOW REFUGEES. QUICKLY EVACUATED ACROSS THE BORDER TO A POLISH ORPHANAGE, AFTER RUSSIA INVADED UKRAINE.
MOST WERE ONLY ABLE TO BRING WITH THEM WHAT YOU SEE HERE…SOME CLOTHING AND SHOES.
THE ORPHANAGE AND LOCAL VOLUNTEERS are working TO MEET THEIR REMAINING NEEDS…BUYING TOYS, SECURING MEDICINE…EVEN THERAPY HORSES.
ZAGARSKY RUNS THIS ORPHANAGE…WHOSE NAME TRANSLATES TO ‘THE HONOR OF HELPING CHILDREN’.
ZAGARSKY: “Every kids here is like my own family. So we are going to help them and give them some safety.”
THOUGH, SAFETY IS ONLY PART OF THE EQUATION. MOST OF THE ORPHANS HAVE PHYSICAL AND MENTAL DISABILITIES, SO STABILITY IS CRUCIAL.
THESE ORPHANS WILL STAY IN POLAND, FOR AS LONG AS THE WAR CONTINUES. MAYBE MONTHS…OR YEARS.
THERE’S A MORATORIUM ON ALL UKRAINIAN ADOPTIONS, BUT EVEN WHEN IT’S LIFTED, ZAGARSKY SAYS IT’S UNLIKELY THESE KIDS WILL FIND A NEW HOME.
ZAGARSKY: “Some of them don’t have future because nobody will take them they are too old. They have too much disability so their only future is to go back to Ukraine.”
IN THE INTERIM HE WANTS TO MAKE THEIR LIVES AS HAPPY AS POSSIBLE. TELLING ME MANY DON’T UNDERSTAND WHAT’S GOING ON IN THEIR HOMELAND, AND HE HOPES TO KEEP IT THAT WAY…PRESERVING THEIR CHILDHOOD ONE DAY AT A TIME.