"I never think about giving up, but hope to be an example for people going through the same problems”.
Inna is a person who never stops, even though her abilities to move are limited.
Following a tragic accident, and complications after surgery on her back, Inna lost the use of her legs. “I will never forget what happened ten years ago. My life changed its status from 'here and always' to 'here, but never'," she recalled with sadness.
For more than ten years, Inna has been paralyzed in a society that requires its members to be in constant motion just to survive. She has been unable to garden and farm the food her family eats, has missed school events and occasions, and has been all but secluded from society.
It is hard to comprehend all the difficulties and stress Inna and her family experience on a daily basis. Nonetheless, her outlook on life remained cheerful, “There is always a hope!” was a constant line she repeated when sharing her story.
The ways in which she adapted to her new life is inspiring. It took some time, but Inna learned how to take care of herself, how to do the house chores, and most importantly, how to be happy again. Her family and the support they provided was a pillar of strength. “The level of involvement they showed was amazing, and everyone understood that we can only come through this together."
However, she’s not 'there' yet. It’s still hard for Inna to use public transportation, go shopping, go outside alone, meet people and socialize. She is not alone. According to a 2013 report by Human Rights Watch, there are at least 13 million people living with disabilities in Russia—almost 10% of the population.
"For many people with disabilities in Russia taking part in the basic activities of daily life, such as going to work, school, or university, gathering with friends or relatives, buying groceries, attending cultural events, or visiting the doctor, can be extremely difficult or even impossible due to a range of different types of barriers they encounter. Barriers can be physical, such as the absence of a ramp or elevator to an apartment, train station, or workplace; or they can consist of attitudes that result in discrimination by employers, doctors, transport operators, or shopkeepers. Consequently, many people with disabilities may rarely leave home, have incomplete or substandard educations, and may never start a family or have meaningful employment." (Human Rights Watch, 2013).
One of the most important things connecting Inna to the outside world was an old iPad.
“Thanks to the Internet, I could keep up with the news, read articles and books, watch movies and TV shows. I was also able to review my kids' homework, see their grades, and communicate with teachers. Unfortunately, my iPad broke, and I lost my social life and access to the outside world."
At Girls Education Nation (GEN), we understand that modern technology creates opportunities and facilitates connection. Education is no exception to this rule, especially in a world restricted by pandemic regulations. Education is not just studying at a school or university, but also reading the news, helping your kids with homework and school projects, and simply browsing the World Wide Web.
In January of 2022, GEN got Inna a new tablet so she can continue to live a wholesome life.
“I’m so grateful to GEN for acting promptly. Even this interview was done using the tablet, and there are many more great things I can do. My little kids are just now starting to go to school, and I want to do everything I can to help them out."
Thanks to our amazing donors and supporters, we are able to continue making a difference in the lives of people like Inna.