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The power of accepting a challenge

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Ahmed and his family having breakfast and greeting guests / UNDP TurkmenistanAhmed and his family having breakfast and greeting guests / UNDP Turkmenistan

“15% of the world population has a disability. By the age of 65, 40% of us will have a disability. By 80 y.o. almost everyone has a disability,” shared international expert Olga Krasyukova during the lecture at the International University of Humanities and Development of Turkmenistan.

Due to the lack of employment and educational opportunities, social stigma and a failure to integrate PWDs into the society, a country’s annual GDP loss can account to 7%. PWDs face social and economic discrimination 50% more often than healthy, i.e. explicit refusal of employment due to medical condition, lack of adequate medical help and lack of education.

Thinking about this sad global trend, can make one feel that there is nothing that we could do about it. However, there are families who do not treat disability as a social condition. Disability is only a medical condition that challenges people, but should not make them suffer. This is the notion that UNDP promotes around the world. For the past eleven months, I’ve been observing how the project on disability works and what kind of ideas they are promoting. All together the UNDP team works on social inclusion, elimination of social stigma and promotion of equal education and employment opportunities.

The lecture of Dr. Krasyukova inspired to do a research and find a family that has taken the challenge and managed it so well, that one can’t even realize that there is more than one member of the family with disability.

This is a story of Ahmed (who has cerebral palsy) and Bahar (with infraction of musculoskeletal system) and their wonderful family. Ahmed works at the printing and packaging company, Bahar is a housewife. They have two healthy kids.

Every day Ahmed goes to work, while his wife Bahar stays with their kids. Their oldest son goes to school and their little daughter goes to the kindergarten. Over weekends, Ahmed takes his family to the zoo and to parks. Ahmed and Bahar dream that one day both of their kids will receive higher education.

Their dedication to life, their enthusiasm and positive attitude shall inspire many people around the world and demonstrate what the power of will means.

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