Wheelchair user Sophia's path from stereotypes to self-confidence

29 Jun, 2023

“If you are a person with limited capabilities, people around you quite often tend to think that you will not be able to get employment, that you will unable to do some job, or will fail at something… I too have never thought that a work environment adjusted to my needs would be found until I was given this opportunity,” says Sofio Kokoladze, who attended educational courses conducted in the framework of the LINKS project. She is currently doing a paid internship.

Sofia was in the 9th grade when she left school. Due to her visits to doctors, she often had to miss classes that turned out to be incompatible with the approaches pursued by the school. Ever since she still studies something: sometimes Spanish and sometimes psychology. The desire to acquire new knowledge led her to the LINKS project, in the framework of which, with the support of the “House of Free Journalists”, she first attended courses in entrepreneurship and then in computer programs. Then she was told that she could also do a paid internship, which seemed to her like an incredible opportunity. The LINKS project is implemented by the Open Society Georgia Foundation and the United Nations Association of Georgia, with financial support from the European Union.

This is how she found herself in the “Alliance of Disabled Women”, where she became involved in the promotion of the activities of the organization. Sofia processes and disseminates information that is necessary and important for the beneficiaries. In this process, the knowledge that she gained within the project, is very helpful to her.

“Anyway, I was very grateful for the employment opportunity, but when I was told that I would also get paid for the internship, I was pleasantly surprised, because this rarely happens in our country. I finally believed this offer when I received the payment, and at the time when I desperately needed the money for the scheduled surgery and medicines,” recalls Sofia.

Influenced by the experience gained and the adapted environment, Sofia left her inferiority complex in the past and acquired many new skills and confidence, along with friends and colleagues.

“This internship was like a springboard for me. I have come to believe that as it worked out well for me, there will definitely be many more things in the future that I am going to successfully deal with.”