Belarusians do not believe that money will be taken from policemen and given to children.
Once again Lukashenka promised to improve the demographic situation and support families with many children. But how families with many children live in Belarus in reality? What support is offered by the state, and will the potential payments of $10,000 for a child be introduced? The editorial office of charter97.org discussed that with Alena, a mother of 4 little children aged 2-10.
- You have 4 little children. How are you supported by the state?
- Considering the economic situation in our country, we cannot expect much. It is not realistic to expect that the dictatorship will reallocate the budget, giving less to policemen and more to families with many children is improbable. However, our state makes some moves to support families with many children. For instance, 50% discount for school textbooks, as well as discounts for food in kindergartens is considerable help. If there would be more multiple children families, the load on the state and the educational system is to grow.
- Are you offered support by out-of-school children organizations, do you enjoy reduction of payment?
- I am pleased that some private hobby groups offer family discounts to families with many children in a case when several children attend classes together. We attend an art group “Belarusians”, a children’s centre, and the discount is considerable for us, as our 3 children study there. It is also very pleasant that art and music schools for children from multiple children families are free. It helps to avoid street upbringing, and it is very good such a system has been preserved. That means, not everything is bad.
- Families with many children are still viewed at as families with low income, as the issue of support to these families is such an acute problem.
- It’s true, people mostly view families with many children as poor families, but it’s not necessarily so. We would like this negative image to change. There is no problem to have an abortion in Belarus. Abortion is legal in Belarus. The first phrase heard by a woman who enters a maternity welfare center is:” “Are you going to deliver the child?” That is why I think for most families with many children it is a matter of choice, and they do not want to “milk” the state in this way very much. Yes, some are lucky to get a free flat, if they have really many children and no place to live. In this case the state offers allowance for the number of metres which are lacking. It is a very helpful programme, though unfortunately now it is reconsidered, with the aim to reduce these norms of square metres per person. Now fewer families would be able to use these housing allowances.
- To your mind, will the policy of the state be able to improve the demographic situation in Belarus?
- Every move made by the state is more likely to help the existing families with many children, but it would not raise the number of children. Having many children is either a part of a family tradition or it is an internal necessity of a person. It hardly depends on economy. It is a rather complex thing. If there will be a salary of $10,000. There would not be a sharp growth of families with many children. Maybe someone will decide not to have an abortion, but in general those who consciously want a child, have children, and not those who have some super-conditions for that. That’s my personal opinion.
- What are you personally lacking as a mother of many children?
- I certainly need money, everyone needs more money always. But I also need more freedom. The more children I have, the more I think about it, and the more I want them to be free people. Moreover, I observe our school system from different points of view, and I have noticed that the situation there does not promote upbringing of a free person, and I am mostly worried by that. We all are equal for the court. Dabratvor, a father of many children, is taken to the court without further ado, and it is a good thing. But the law should be a law, not a means of control.
- What is your opinion, will Belarusian mothers receive $10,000 for each child promised to them [by the president]?
- I think it is a part of his image and populism, and there are no real grounds for that. And basically I am not interested the poor strata of state employees to be robbed for my sake, or an intolerable burden placed on businessmen, to make some one-time payment for me. In actual fact, $10,000 is not much. You cannot easily buy a new car for that now. So we should not expect this misbalance to be created, it would not do nay good to anyone.