Helena Ferencikova and her husband Jan always wanted to have a girl. But the young Roma couple's simple dream may never be realised, for in October 2001 -- when she was just nineteen years old -- Mrs Ferencikova was sterilised against her wishes, after giving birth to her second son. On Friday, the regional court of Ostrava stopped short of awarding damages but ruled that the hospital which performed the sterilisation owes Mrs Ferencikova an apology. The court's decision, once finalised in writing, would be the first finding in any Czech or Eastern
Members of the European Forum for Responsible Drinking - which brings together many of Europe's largest drinks companies - held the latest in a series of conferences in Brussels on Wednesday. Statistics quoted at the forum suggest that Czech children start drinking earlier than children anywhere else in the European Union - on average at the age of eleven. But is the drinks industry part of the solution, or part of the problem? Attending the conference on behalf of Czech spirits producers was David Binar. Radio Prague asked him why he believed
The Czech Republic currently has one of the lowest birth rates in the world, second only to Ukraine and China. Although there are conflicting views as to whether the state should interfere with demographic trends, the government has now approved a national family policy which would make it easier for Czechs to have children and enjoy parenthood.
According to a report by the UN Children's Fund released on Wednesday disabled children in Eastern Europe continue to be confined in segregated facilities and special schools, suffering from stigma and discrimination. The report says that although the approach to disabled children in the region has been improving, there is not enough state support. Experts say that the fact that so many children are placed in institutions reflects economic desperation which leads struggling families to put their children in care for want of alternatives, as well as a traditional communist-era attitude that institutionalisation is the best solution.
In recent years, the Czech humanist movement has perhaps become best known here for its long-distance 'adoption' programme for African children. Over two thousand children have found Czech 'parents'. I caught up recently with Czech humanist volunteer Jana Soukupova and two Kenyan coordinators, Griffin Otieno Okungu and Asimah Hamisi Feirukha, to talk about what adoption can mean for an African child.
With the end of June the school year in the Czech Republic comes to an end, and children receive their school reports. Many of them can now boast good marks and look forward to two months of vacation. But there are also many who are not so happy with their school achievements. Some of them are even scared of severe punishment from their parents, and it is not unusual to hear of cases of children who decide to run away from home at this time of the year.
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