This programme and the horrors at the orphanage have gone virtually unreported in the press and on national TV. Only by raising the publicity surrounding this modern day Holocaust can this be prevented in the future. The target must now be to ensure that where these children are moved to ensure they get the care they so desperately need and deserve.
Stephen Baldwin, Maidstone, England
I've just finished watching the programme as I Sky plus-ed it, couldn't watch it all together as I was too upset. I found it very moving and shocking that such institutional abuse goes on in this day and age, in a European country. I went to Bulgaria six times as a child and teenager: it was our regular family summer holiday. I have many happy childhood memories of my times in Bulgaria, a stark contrast to the 'abandoned children'. It made me very sad and angry as an ordinary member of the public and particularly as I work in the social care field. I am training to be a social worker and currently work as a support worker. I have previously worked in residential care. I would really like to do something practical to help and will keep a close eye on the websites. Thank you Kate (and co) for highlighting this tragic situation and more importantly for taking steps to address it.
Claire Dixon, Falkirk, Scotland
Absolutely shocking. This was a remarkable eye-opening documentary. Although I would never claim to know much about Bulgaria this really made me sit up and listen. How in modern Europe so many children can be left to rot away in these homes is beyond my comprehension. It made me want to get on the next flight out and give these people living and working in the homes some help. Please, please can the BBC find a way of pushing this topic? I know we can't help everyone but let's bring back some programme like Challenge Anneka and send her out there. That's what I want to see on the TV. Reality TV which helps people: Changing Rooms Bulgarian orphanage-style. Come on, anything is going to be an improvement to these places.
Jennifer Stevens, Chester
This documentary was very moving and heart-breaking. I never would imagine that it's possible for such misery to exist in the 21st century. Well done to the film-makers and producers. It worries me that in many comments here I can feel the negative attitude towards Bulgaria and the Bulgarian people, which is not fair. The Bulgarian government has to be blamed, and the institutions over here who take the money and do nothing to improve the life of abandoned children who don't have anybody to care about them. I am sure most of the ordinary people are not aware of what is going on behind the walls of such homes. And there is no publicity because it's against the government's interest.
Without any prejudice, please don't have a negative attitude towards the Bulgarian country and people, who are very welcoming and are fighting a lot of problems since the fall of the Iron Curtain and the joining of the EU, which moves the prices of everyday living higher and higher, but not the wages with the same speed. I hope that one day the BBC will be able to show a better image of Bulgaria. There are many happy and healthy children here as well.
I was totally shocked by this programme. It made me want to cry my heart out! I work with special needs children here in the UK and it's totally different to other countries such as Bulgaria! The children are treated as if they don't matter and are lifeless! More could be done to help these children! I just wish that I could go out there and help out. I would jump at the chance. Well done to Kate for exposing exactly what it is like for the children. The staff were useless and didn't really care about the children. They didn't even know what condition the children had! Isn't that something that you should learn straight away? Overall I'm just glad that Kate raised the issue or else the Bulgarian government wouldn't have even cared! At least something is being done now, even if it is something as small as moving the children.
Michelle Hogg, Warrington
I was very moved by this documentary and have much praise for Kate Blewett for exposing the inhumane way that these poor children were treated and basically left to wither away and die. I understand that it is not about abuse per se, but the overall lack of care and abandonment of them really does pull at the heart. I am glad that the children have been moved on elsewhere and I sincerely hope that they can look forward to a better standard of life now. Watching programmes like this makes one realise what a privileged life our UK kids have and how brave these children in Bulgaria who suffer in silence. Well done Kate.
N Williamson, Preston
This is the most powerful documentary that I have ever seen. People must sit up and notice what is going on in the world. The saddest thing that I have ever seen was little Stoyan standing motionless with no one helping him. It is the first time I have cried in a long time. I would like to thank Kate and her team for opening my eyes to such suffering endured by others, this has made me realise that I must try and help in any way I can.
David Campbell, Motherwell, Scotland
I was in tears after watching this film. These children are living in appalling conditions and their disabilities are made thousands of times worse simply through lack of care, attention, stimulation and most importantly love. The abuse of them is unbearable, I don't know how some of the carers can sit back and watch children die in front of there eyes and not do anything about it. The Bulgarian Government should be ashamed of themselves for letting this abuse occur behind closed doors. Well done Kate for this eye-opening documentary. I hope it gets shown on BBC One or BBC Two to really get the message across that this is unacceptable. Please do a follow-up programme, I would really like to see what happened to these poor children who have been neglected by their own society and ultimately, their own flesh and blood.
How utterly sad. Those poor children. How can those carers be with them every day and not notice how thin they are? The most moving part, I thought, was at the end, when Kate gave that poor child Vasky a hug. She just seemed to cling onto her as if she had never been hugged before. The government of Bulgaria must be blind not to see the suffering in those institutes. I really feel for those children who have lost their childhoods in that place. I hope something is done very soon.
Penny Osborne, Duns, Berwickshire
This programme was one of the most emotionally disturbing and moving films I have seen. The complete lack of physical emotional or educational stimuli which the children endured on a daily basis made me angry and upset in equal measure. I felt like a voyeur in a concentration camp looking at malnourished and underdeveloped human beings. I commend Kate Blewett for exposing this shameful and inhumane treatment of the most vulnerable children in a country which can boast at being part of the EU. Is there any law within the European Union which could stop this and protect the lives of children within these institutions?
Angelo Jaxon, Leeds
Of course we agree that it was the most heart-rending and shocking programme we have ever seen, and it needs primetime airing, but it also needs showing to the ordinary people of Bulgaria. We have been there many times and they are kind and compassionate, and I'm sure they have no idea of what goes on in these closed institutions. The Bulgarian TV stations won't show it, but many Bulgarians get satellite TV and BBC Four could give the programme to these broadcasters for a minimal fee if they would transmit it to the Bulgarian people dubbed in Bulgarian. Then their citizen's outcry can join ours to try to bring about change.
Gordon and Marlene Spencer, York
I work in Bulgaria and live in Northern Ireland. I watched this programme in September when I was last home. I cried at the plight of these children and for the worker who actually spoke to the enquiry team. My heart went out to the older children who helped make beds and were beaten by the adult employee, I would have like to go and see if he was up to beating someone his own size. I have spoken with Bulgarian friends and it seems as if this is what is expected and the mindset of some Bulgarians is that if someone is different the state locks them away. I would dearly love to find out what happened to Troyan the blind boy who went in as a healthy child and at the end of the programme was bedridden. Believe me I will do my best to visit this home and post something on your site. Bulgaria is not a third-world country and should step up to the mark and do something about these children, perhaps if the officials were not so corrupt some of the money might actually get to the children. The EU is here in force working on every conceivable project except care of children, put into homes because they are different.
Gordon Dalzell, Sofia/Northern Ireland
A powerful documentary about what is really happening behind closed doors in not too distant shores. Wake up world - these children are loveless, emotionless and have nothing, yet still smile. We all take our daily lives for granted and how lucky we really are compared with our European neighbours. Thanks Kate and the team for showing us the true reality of the homes and please get it on primetime BBC!
Paul Shearwood, Camberley, Surrey
This programme MUST be shown on BBC One or BBC Two so that more people can see what is going on in these terrible 'homes' in Bulgaria. 'People Power' can make things change. Well done to Kate Blewett for showing us this horrific reality. The more people that know about this, the more can be done to help these innocent children.
Anne Hulbert, Northampton
This has opened my eyes to the waste of money the European Union is! I am deeply disgusted at the systematic 'legal' child abuse taking place in European children's homes. I cannot believe that in Bulgaria, which is by no means a third-world country, the young people in these homes are given no stimulation, are left hours on end with no professional help, are starving to death and being physically abused. I was shocked to learn that the young women are herded, like sheep, naked into open showers by male workers. The European Union has serious amounts of public money and clearly these young people, who are so desperately in need of support, receive none. They have been completely dehumanised, where is the European Court of Human Rights? This is like watching children's homes in the 18th century. I cannot express in writing how angry, upset and frustrated I am at a situation which is taking place within the European Union. Kate Blewett should be knighted for bringing to light this horrific situation. I would appreciate a response, from the Commission, and timescales on how the European Commission intends to tackle this distressing situation and what sanctions the Union will place on the Bulgarian Government to ensure that they rectify this horrific and illegal situation.
George Kirkham, Slough
A very moving documentary. This children's home is not so far removed from at least one institution/hospital unit in the UK, dealing with learning disabled adults. My experience was over seven months in 2006, due to the unnecessary and unexpected detention of my Down's syndrome brother. My eyes were opened by attitudes and practices within the NHS and Social Services. Together they conspired to gradually remove my brother's ability to function and they ignored concerns expressed repeatedly by myself and others in the family. In a large group of siblings there are now many broken hearts.
I sit here in disbelief. It has taken me almost 30 minutes to compose myself enough to write any sort of comment. How difficult that must have been for the team to film that knowing there was little they could do except watch and broadcast the abuse and malnutrition, and so on. I cried all the way through - their empty eyes, rocking like little lost animals, and yet they are children. Does the director of the children's home realise this? Please do an update on some of the children featured. Particularly the tiny blind boy, on whom you could count every single rib. Bless them all, I hope things drastically improve. How terrible that places like this still exist.
T Beer, Devon
I was horrified at the conditions shown in this film. It was upsetting to know that situations like this still exist. I thought the film itself portrayed things very well. I have been to Karin Dom, near Varna in Bulgaria, which is run as a charity organisation and the conditions compared to those shown on this programme are unbelievable. The children in Karin Dom are well cared for and all physical, emotional and mental needs met and developed!! Having to compare the two is just heartbreaking for those not experiencing this care.
Sara, Northern Ireland
As a reasonably sheltered 17-year-old, I have always lived my life with the love and comfort of my family. This was why I was so shocked by what I saw while watching this documentary. I have always been aware of poverty in the third-world countries as well as in many other areas throughout the world but I could never have imagined what I saw. My heart broke into pieces, each piece for every single child I watched being herded into the showers naked, for the children who were neglected and speech was part of a vocabulary that they would never learn, for every single child in that so called 'home'. The work of Kate Blewett is truly spectacular, over the past two nights I have watched two documentaries directed and produced by her and the fact that she is able to highlight these issues to the public gives these children a glimmer of hope that people care. I am glad to see such a large feedback from these documentaries as it is us that can make the changes for these children. Thank you Kate for opening my eyes.
Julie Cox, Perthshire