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Inclusion in Ukraine

Bildrechte: Eva Steinlein

In Ukraine, those with a disability are still being pushed to the margins of society. Young women in particular are pushing back.

By Eva Steinlein, Kyiv / Zaporizhia

Walking with Daria Korschavina along Kyiv's well-known Khreshchatyk street on the way to Maidan Nezalezhnosti is not so easy. People continuously pass by in close proximity, almost bumping into her, even though she is the only person in the crowd with a white cane. "It's a vicious cycle," says the 27-year-old who has been blind since she was two years old. "People with a disability are invisible to society because they mostly keep to themselves. They stay at home and are afraid of society. Society is also afraid of them because they don't see them and therefore, they don't know how to engage them."

The notion that everyone living in Ukraine are naturally healthy and strong dates back to the country's days in the Soviet Union. Back then, people with a disability spent their entire lives pent up in a care facility, barred from participating in everyday life. Today, society's collective understanding of normal body image is ever present. This perception assumes those with a disability are incomplete and their disability shameful. Moreover, any aspiration to lead an independent life is deemed unlikely or impossible. Daria Korschavina says that People with a disability are invisible to society because they mostly keep to themselves.

Even in the 1990s when Daria Korschavina was in school, the teachers at the boarding school were reluctant to organize any joint activities with students without disabilities. ‚ÄěThis would be boring for the other kids and is completely unnecessary, they said," she recalled, but these prejudices never stopped her.

Read the whole story: https://www.deine-korrespondentin.de/disabilities-without-hinderance/