An investigation at one of the order’s homes in Kolkata by an undercover investigator, who was working there as a volunteer, uncovers more troubling details. He filmed children being fed while their hands bound with what appeared to be strips of cloth. When the undercover worker returned to the home at night, he found children bound to their cots with similar strips, which prevented them from moving more than 2 feet.
|Published Date: 30 Jul, 2005|
Disabled Children Tied,Tethered To Cots, Finds Undercover Investigator
Kolkata, jul 31: An undercover investigation has revealed poor conditions endured by children in a Kolkata care home run by Missionaries of Charity, the order founded by Mother Teresa.
Around 50 disabled children, aged six months to 12 years, in the home have their hands bound during meal times and are tethered to their cots at night.
Martin Gallagher, a former operations director of MENCAP, said last week that it was unacceptable for the children to be tied up. “It’s a breach of their human rights,” he said.
Since Mother Teresa’s death in 1997, her charitable order has continued with her work. It has more than 700 centres in 133 countries. Even when Mother Teresa was alive, the standards at some of her homes were criticised. Some workers complained of dirty conditions and claimed children suffered neglect.
A new investigation at one of the order’s homes in Kolkata, called Daya Dan, has raised fresh concerns. An undercover investigator, who was working there as a volunteer, filmed children being fed while their hands bound with what appeared to be strips of cloth.
When the undercover worker returned to the home at night, he found children bound to their cots with similar strips, which prevented them from moving more than 2 feet.
He also filmed children being left unattended in the toilet, at times for up to 20 minutes. Staff seemed to be poorly trained in dealing with disabled children.
When questioned about why the children were tied to their beds, a nun in the order said: “It’s a terrible thing to do, but there might be a reason. I’ve not been to that home and not heard anything about that at all.”
Donal MacIntyre, who conducted the investigation for Five News, said he was shocked by what he had found.
“There are strategies for looking after disabled children that minimise stressful situations,” he said, “but, as a result of poor training and lack of resources, staff are resorting to shocking practices.
“Unless the Missionaries of Charity improve their standards, they risk damaging not only the health of those in their care but also the reputation of one of the world’s most remarkable women.” Sister Nirmala Joshi, now superior general of the order, was not available for comments.
Yes, they are tied: Sister
The Times of India India's leading news paper, independently confirmed the story. Sister Nirmala, superior-general of the Missionaries of Charity, was abroad. In her absence, Mother House spokesperson Sister Christie responded to the queries. She confirmed: “Daya Dan has 59 children. Of them some are spastics. These children are tied up, but for limited periods only. This is done for their safety. These children can easily harm themselves.’’