Institute for War and Peace Reporting | Giving Voice, Driving Change

Children in Care Become Vulnerable Adults

Even as adults, people who grew up in children’s homes suffer the consequences of marginalisation and poor education.
Reporter Ulukbu Amirova met Shair, now 33, who is typical of those who were unable to learn a trade or go on to college because of their deprived background.

With few skills, men like Shair fill a gap in the southern Batken region created by the departure of large numbers of migrant workers to Russia and other countries.

Shair does odd jobs like unloading trucks and carrying pails of water from an outdoor mains supply.

He says that instead of money, he is paid in bottles of vodka, beer or wine. It is hardly surprising that many in his position drift into alcohol abuse and crime.

Shair is relatively lucky, as he stays off the drink and has been “adopted” by a couple who run a local café, who encourage his main outlet - singing pop songs.

His dream is to get a bit more money and own his own home. Using an image from a famous Russian folk tale, he says that would amount to “catching the golden fish” – a prize beyond imagining.

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