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Become a Friend Printable Version PRINTABLE VERSION
by Artem Semergey, Russia Feb 2, 2006
Child & Youth Rights , Health , Human Rights , Disability Culture   Opinions


Become a Friend What does it mean to live with disabilities?

Persons with disabilities have the same dreams as those living full lives: they are capable of loving and to be loved; to dream, to look at the beauty of nature, to be good to other people, and to be useful for society.

But persons with disabilities have had to adapt in order to survive in this difficult world. They get education with difficulty or can’t get it at all. Persons with disabilities are exposed to discrimination in the labour-market, can’t get prestige work, and face difficulties when they try to find family happiness.

For the first time I came across the problems of people with disabilities several years ago when I did practical work as a mentor at The Summer Child’s Sanitary Complex for Orphans and Handicapped Children in my native town Volgodonsk.

There were children with Cerebral Palsy in my group. The first feeling I felt when I saw them was fear. Later I realized that it was unfounded fear. Although I studied how to work with children with disabilities at lectures delivered by the teachers of our university, I forgot everything I was trained when I saw them.

The first meeting with these children is in my mind even today. At first they looked at me with distrust, unlike other children. Some of them told their names, others kept silent. It seemed like I would never be able to understand their inner world and at the time I thought that they were persons from a completely different world.

Several hours later, I offered to play a slow-moving game. Some gave their consent, but not everybody. They, as before, were reserved, whispering with each other, discussing something. Many of the children didn’t want to speak with me. I couldn’t imagine at all how I could make friends with them.

In the evening I decided to invite all the children to have a walk under the open air and talk about something. We started our chat talking about everybody’s last summer, and their activities. I told some information about myself. I found out that they knew each other, and studied at the same specialized educational institution.

I forgot about pedagogical technologies and simply became a friend for the children. They have a rich inner world; many of them paint well, go in for sport in specialized groups for children with disabilities; and all the children are kind and responsive.

The main problem of these children I saw, was fear of the future. They don’t make plans for the future like other children. The main merit of children with disabilities is the capability to value that they already have got. The hope for the best life lives in their hearts.

Two years later we met again and I saw in them my fiends and not just as the people with disabilities. I believe they can overcome their hurt if they have got a friend near them.



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Artem Semergey

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wahooe | Apr 8th, 2006

wahooe | Apr 8th, 2006

Good job, Artem!
Sofya Mezhorina | Mar 6th, 2006
Keep up the work - it is so very rare in Russia. I am really proud I know you - a person who cares for others and welcomes challenge!

Keep Up
Alaa Isam Hassan El-Aghbari | Jun 14th, 2006
Keep up the work - it is so very rare in Russia. I am really proud I know you - a person who cares for others and welcomes challenge

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