When their son Vladyslav was just four years old, he developed severe cerebral palsy. He and his family live far away from any specialised medical facilities – in a region where many people live in poverty.
“My son was a lively, joyful boy, the apple of my eye, our firstborn,” said his father, Vitaliy. “Suddenly at the age of four, he got brain inflammation and since then, he has been paralyzed, unable to see and talk.”
Vladyslav, 13, is held tenderly in his grandmother’s lap. She looks after him every day, and they are so close that it is as though his pain is hers.
She said, “His disease is so severe that he has little chance of improvement. The only relief for him is rehabilitation therapy, but in our desolate village with no hospital we cannot provide it. I give him massages.”
Rural areas of Ukraine currently suffer from high levels of unemployment, widespread poverty, and poor infrastructure. The absence of stability and economic potential is common to most of the families here. Parents hope for a better future for their children; the situation in the country continues to worsen, and it leads to further frustration.