Late last week the Washington Post ran a story about the plight of people with disabilities in Russia.
Here’s the context:
Vera Samykina is an A student in all subjects who just completed ninth grade, a significant marker in Russian education . . . Samykina, 17, is determined to finish high school in two years and then pursue a university degree in English. She has never been inside a regular classroom, however. Most of her education occurs in her cramped Moscow apartment. Samykina has cerebral palsy, and until she was 15, tutors came to her house three times a week for a couple of hours to instruct her in her various subjects. For the past two years, she has been taught over the Internet by specialists in each subject.
Unfortunately, I’ve read these stories hundreds of times. Someone with a disability who has to fight hefty odds just to do things that the rest of us take for granted.
And the problems for people with disabilities, even in such a relatively developed country like Russia, are still quite elementary: lack of access, exclusion from school, treated differently because of their disability, etc.
The piece explains that even simple access issues are ignored, such as wheelchair ramps. Vera’s family has to physically drag her wheel chair up the 3 flights of stairs to their apartment. They have been unsuccessful in getting authorities to build a simple ramp.
Makes me want to grab a few 2 by 4s, saw, hammer, and nails, and head over to Moscow and take care of business.
Perhaps it’s time for a disability organization equivalent of Habitat for Humanity, building access and physically supportive structures for people with disabilities.