The young lady was at her first New Year party at Salem Social Village, but she couldn’t keep her emotions in check. She watched the gathered people with their wide smiles, listened to the words of congratulations being said, and wiped the tears from her eyes. They were tears flowing from her amazement at what she was witnessing.
“I’m a Mum of three kids,” Nadia told us. “I see how my children and the children of my friends can behave selfishly and act like consumers. It’s hard to surprise or please them with anything,” she said, sharing her emotions with us. “Coming to this party at the Social Village, I didn’t initially understand what was happening. Why were people with disabilities, sitting in their wheelchairs, so happy and excited?! They were openly grateful and joyful for even the most insignificant things: being together, a fun event, the opportunity to be at a cafe, listening to music, and dancing.”
On 21st December at Salem Social Cafe, people with disabilities from the World Without Limits social club independently put on their own New Year party for the first time, rather than us doing it for them. They organised an abundant feast, interesting creative performances, invited Snegurichka and Father Christmas*, and also prepared New Year gifts.
*Note: For all our non-CIS readers, New Year in the former Soviet countries is celebrated not with Santa as in the West, but a very similar figure whose direct translation would be ‘Grandfather Frost’. He gives out gifts in a similar way, but is always assisted by his grand-daughter, the lovely ‘Sne-GUR-ich-ka’ or ‘Snow Maiden’, who brings a certain Russian-style glamour to the whole thing!
At this wonderful party, it was impossible to not admire and be very proud of our wonderful special friends. After another year of running the World Without Limits club with them, we have become very close friends, mutually enriched and developed.
It’s been particularly special for us to witness how these people with disabilities are gradually throwing off their label ‘disabled’ and becoming more self-sufficient, able to lead a more independent life. How rewarding to see how their lives are changing for the better!