In Belarus, Oleg Reaches Beyond Perceived Limits

By Elena Karpenko, ChildFund Belarus

As we conclude our 75th anniversary blog series, we are focusing on success stories of youth and alumni from ChildFund’s programs in the Americas, Africa, Asia and Europe. Today, we meet Oleg of Belarus, in Eastern Europe.

Belarus’ 119,000 children with special needs, including about 30,000 with disabilities, often have problems gaining access to good education and services. They also cope with deeply ingrained social exclusion.

Oleg

Oleg, a budding photographer in Belarus.

Oleg, a teenage boy who is affected by musculoskeletal issues, often felt like he couldn’t express himself. He wanted to show others that his life has meaning, but Oleg didn’t have the tools.

But life took a turn for the better when Oleg enrolled in a course offered by ChildFund Belarus called Leadership Without Limitations, part of a USAID-funded project, Community Services to Vulnerable Groups.

ChildFund achieved or exceeded all its annual targets, including improved capacity in 170 disability-focused organizations, more services for 535 children with disabilities, training for 257 parents and family members, incorporation of inclusive approaches in nine educational settings and other successful advocacy efforts.

Through the course, Oleg has learned how to take photos, which you see below.

birds in Belarus

One of Oleg’s photos.

His mother suggested a photography exhibit for the youth in his course, and ChildFund Belarus staff members embraced the idea. More than 120 people came to the event, which focused on organizations that help people with disabilities.

trees in Belarus

A towering forest in Belarus.

“I didn’t even think that the exhibition could change my life so much,” says Oleg. “If I hadn’t taken part in the course, I would never have come to the idea of exhibiting my photos.”

After the ChildFund event, he was invited to photograph a fashion show featuring children with disabilities, and those pictures were displayed in Oleg’s school. All of a sudden, people saw beyond Oleg’s disability: Here was a person with strength, talent and capabilities.

sunset in Belarus

A flaming sunset in Belarus.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>

Enter your email address to subscribe to this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

Join 851 other subscribers

ChildFund
Follow me on Twitter