Voronitsyna is a former glossy magazine photographer, now confined to her bed in a suburb of Moscow with rapid-onset multiple sclerosis. After fires engulfed western Russia in 2010, she began organizing information about which regions needed what kind of help, and when.
Victor Bodunov and his mother, Valentina
At the time of this photo, Victor had recently finished his training as a print shop technician and hoped to find a job very soon. He is active in Best Buddies Russia, a volunteer movement that connects people with and without disabilities. Victor has starred in several productions of the “theater of the naïve,” an acting program engaging people with disabilities, and especially enjoys musicals. One of Victor’s hobbies is playing computer games.
After studying in a mainstream school for five years, Kyrill was on the verge of quitting because all of his classes were to be held on the second and third floors of a wheelchair inaccessible school. His mother came to Perspektiva for help. Perspektiva, an organization that aims to promote independence and an improved quality of life for disabled people in Russia, helped raise public awareness about this problem and the school finally installed a manual chairlift.
Vanya (Ivan) Alexev
Vanya (Ivan) Alexev. Vanya's mother is an active member of the Parent's Group at Perspektiva. Since early childhood, Vanya has taken part in many public actions organized by Perspektiva to support people with disabilities. Vanya has read all of the Happy Potter books and hopes to write a sequel someday. He loves to play with his younger brother and sister.
Yulia is co-program director of the inclusive education program at Perspektiva. She holds training sessions on disability issues, inclusive education workshops for teachers, parents and activists, and disabilities awareness classes for schoolchildren. She has taught 1,000 young people to be trainers on disability issues in Russian schools. Yulia swims, rides horseback, and loves driving.
For two years Yulia ran Perspektiva's sports programs. Yulia enjoys skiing, ice skating, and paragliding. Recently, she introduced a blind friend to the delight of downhill skiing.
Vera Kocheshkova and her mother, Tatiana
Vera Kocheshkova and her mother, Tatiana. In 2011, Vera graduated from a high school for children with disabilities. She is active in Best Buddies, a volunteer movement that connects people with and without disabilities. She enjoys helping her mother, Tatiana, around the house; they are best friends. "A daughter's smile makes a mother happy," says Tatiana. "Nothing is more important in life."
Bob Kafka | USA
Bob Kafka is a leader and National Organizer for ADAPT, the largest national grassroots organization using nonviolent advocacy to protect the rights of people with disabilities. Bob first undertook civil disobedience in 1984 to secure access to public transportation for people with disabilities. After passage of the Americans with Disabilities Act, ADAPT set its sights on the nursing home industry to assure that people with disabilities would not be institutionalized because of the lack of community services and supports. Bob has been arrested more than 30 times fighting for the civil and human rights of people with disabilities.