Natasha Popova (12) and Vadim Kuleshov (8) live in the Vesnova orphanage. Natasha was born with microcephaly (her head is abnormally small); Vadim has a bone disease and is mentally retarded. It is not known for certain whether exposure to radiation can be linked to such conditions, but the Belarus government estimates a 250 percent increase in birth defects after the 1986 nuclear disaster at Chernobyl, just across the border in Ukraine. Some 30 high-dependency people, ranging in age from five to 25 and all branded ‘mentally unfit’ live in the institution. Conditions are badly affected by the lack of funds.