An article about the beneficiary of EDEC published in the Swiss media

The Swiss Online Media Voix d’Exils | Migrations et Sociétés (Eng.: Voice of Emigrants | Migration and Society) writes about Kristine Kostava from Georgia, the editor of Voix d’Exils.

As Kristine tells in the article, disability does not prevent her from living freely. In the article she talks about the difficulties faced by people with disabilities in Georgia:

“In Georgia, I couldn’t cross the street in a wheelchair because there were no access ramps near the buildings. Elevators, buses, trains were not adapted for the people with disabilities. I have never traveled by public transport.”

Kristine also talks about the cooperation with EDEC, in the framework of which she participated in employment support projects for the people with disability in Kutaisi in 2014-2017. With the support of the organization, Christine completed a graphic design training course at a vocational school and successfully completed the internship phase as well. On the recommendation of EDEC, she was employed as a graphic designer at MBM Polygraph.

“When I was 20, the organization “Education Development and Employment Center” contacted me and offered me various vocational courses in order to obtain the new profession.

At 27, I studied graphic design and then started working as a designer in one of Kutaisi’s printing houses. Due to unsuitable conditions and very low wages, my father took me to work. Without her help, all my salary would have been spent on transportation costs. I was always happy to go to work. The staff and owners were very nice and warm-hearted! My job fascinated me.”

Kristine had to leave Georgia due to health problems and move to Switzerland. She is currently getting treatment and is awaiting a date of surgery, which has been delayed twice due to the pandemic.

“I have met a lot of nice people in Switzerland who have helped me. An Orthodox foundation gave me an electric scooter which I couldn’t even dream of in Georgia. Now I can move anywhere independently, without any obstacles. In Switzerland, all the conditions are met for a disabled person to live independently. I can use public transport and access all buildings. I live freely without complex! I’m no longer ashamed to go out on the streets or have someone look at me with pity! Here, all individuals are equal, all human rights are protected!”

Despite finding her “share of happiness” in Switzerland, Kristine is not planning to stay there:

“I would like to bring my life experience, a vision, an environment, a reflection, a different freedom to my country. My goal is to help people who are disappointed like me! No matter how we were born, who we are, what kind of health problems we have, the main thing is to love ourselves for who we are and not to allow anyone to regard us as useless! I feel like a full person in Switzerland. I breathe here, I am free, with high hopes. Soon I will be healthy! Thanks to Switzerland for all of this! Now I can say: There are no limits! There is a disabled environment!”

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