The happy result of Friends of BCH recommending BCH as a partner to Healthprom in 2015, is that the hospice received funding from DfID’s Child Rights programme. This is how it has benefited one family.
Kirill and Lis live in a student dormitory in the city of Bobruisk. They have two children, a daughter Arina and Gleb, a younger son who is registered as profoundly disabled. It was proving impossible to carry on living in the cramped student accommodation. The young parents did the rounds of different hospitals with their son, one week at home and two weeks in intensive care, and sent their daughter to her grandparents. Lis said, ‘We used to see our daughter Arina only once every three months’.
As Gleb’s physical condition gradually stabilised, the family was reunited but it was still far from bearable in the dormitory where they lived on the fifth floor next to noisy neighbours. Finally, they moved out to a rented flat in an old five-storey block of flats that had not been repaired since Soviet times. Lis admits that times were tough and said, ‘I stay at home to take care of our son, my husband works as a foreman at a construction college. Most of his salary went on the rent’.
They had been on the waiting list for rehousing for three years. ‘When we got the first letter they told us we were number 1500 on the list,’ she continues. ‘From time to time, we dropped in to the office for an update but there was no change. We could have gone on like that for years. Fortunately, Anastasia, our regional project co-ordinator from BCH, stepped in to help us. She sent two carefully researched and worded letters to the City Council and that got things moving. We were immediately moved up the queue.’
It turned out that the family was entitled to a low interest loan and a subsidy to build a flat. They were paying twice as much for their rented flat as they would in repayments of the special loan. ‘We had no idea of our entitlements but now we have bought a share in a new block that’s going up and by spring we’ll have our own flat. We can’t wait!’
The fact that the new flat will be completely empty and undecorated does not worry them at all. Their father is a builder and will help get the place ready for the family to move in.
‘It’s all thanks to Anastasia, the outreach worker on children’s rights from the Belarusian Children’s Hospice,’ said Lis and Kirill, ‘without her help, we would still be in the expensive, old, run down flat.’
The DfID funding had enabled BCH to employ its own legal advisor. Read Irina Gamova's story here.