Journalist Reports Staff At Indian Facility Tie Children To
By Dave Reynolds, Inclusion Daily Express
August 3, 2005
KOLKATA, INDIA--Officials with the Missionaries of Charity, the order established by Mother Teresa, this week defended themselves against reports by a British journalist that it mistreats children with disabilities at one of its India facilities.
Five News reporter Donal MacIntyre, who claims to be a practicing Catholic, said that he went undercover posing as a volunteer at the Daya Dan center in Kolkata (Calcutta) after receiving complaints by international aid workers. The center, which houses 59 children with physical and intellectual disabilities between six months and 12 years of age, was established in 1998, the year after Mother Teresa died.
MacIntyre reported that while at the facility he witnessed the staff tying some of the children by the ankles to their cots at night, along with binding the hands of children while feeding them, and leaving them alone on the toilet for up to 20 minutes at time. He secretly filmed some of the incidents, which were then broadcast on the channel Monday.
"I was truly shocked by what I found at the Daya Dan center," MacIntyre said of the facility which employs just seven caregivers. "There are strategies for looking after disabled children that minimize stressful situations, and, as a result of poor training and lack of resources, staff are resorting to inhumane practices such as tying children up."
Sister Nirmala Joshi, superior-general of the Missionaries of Charity, said in a statement: "Physical restraints are used only when absolutely necessary for the safety of the child and for educational purposes for limited periods of time."
Sister Paula Marie, who runs the center, explained: "There are cases where a child has been found putting food into the eyes, face and mouth with both hands, leaving the care-givers with no alternative but to tie his/her hands with a piece of cloth for the time the child is being fed."
Sister Marie told the New Kerala news service that the sisters would be open to learning new ways -- short of medication -- to deal with children that present troubling behavior.
"British journalist accuses Mother Teresa sisters" (Catholic News)
"Mother Teresas charity says its ties retarded kids for safety" (New Kerala)
Donal MacIntyre's Website