In each episode of the series I tracked down witnesses, discovered key sites and pieced together the extraordinary survival story of a child raised wild.
down the truth, extracting reality from all the lies and tall tales
surrounding cases like these was never going to be easy.
Children who grow up outside the bounds of 'normal' society can give us insight into human child development, into cultural attitudes to disability, and how different societies categorise and explain relationships between humans and animals. They can reveal something about what it is to be human.
But these strange, feral children are also often a source of shame and secrecy within a family or community.
aren't Jungle Book stories, they're often harrowing cases of neglect
and abuse. And it's all too likely because of a tragic combination of
addiction, domestic violence and poverty.These are kids who fell through
the cracks, who were forgotten, or ignored, or hidden.
feel privileged to have met these people - they've survived
extraordinary experiences. And I was inspired to see the ways they're
being rehabilitated, and to witness the love and devotion of their
We filmed the series in Fiji, Ukraine and Uganda. See some pics from the shoots at 'IMAGES' (on left).
Check out raisedwild.wordpress.com for more on the phenomenon of Feral Children and some of my research about resilience, language acquisition, notions of childhood, and the way animals and the wild are classified in different cultures.
DO YOU WANT TO HELP?
If John's story (The 'Monkey-Boy' of Ukraine) moved you and you'd like to help, the best way would be to support the Molly and Paul Child Care Foundation who run a number of schools in southern Uganda, including the one John was helped at. Paul and Molly are now John's guardians. http://www.mollyandpaul.org/
Oxana (The 'Dog-Girl' of Ukraine) lives in a state-funded institution, and it's not easy to supervise donations or gifts to her. If you would like to support kids who are in similar situations and help end damaging institutional care in Ukraine, please support the incredible Hope and Homes for Children: http://www.hopeandhomes.co.uk/what-we-do/where-we-work/ukraine
If Sujit's story (The 'Chicken-Boy' of Fiji) moved you and you'd like to help Elizabeth continue to care for him, you can donate and find out more at The Happy Home Trust: http://www.thehappyhometrust.com/how-you-can-help/donations/