Advocating for disability rights while challenging barriers in Ukraine

‘Coffee with a friend’ campaign urges public to change perceptions of persons with disabilities

A social campaign is taking off in Ukraine. All thanks to a young man who turned a negative experience into something positive. Roman Kisliak is the advocate behind the ‘coffee with a friend’ movement aimed to change public perceptions about people with disabilities.

Roman, disability rights advocate: “I want to make sure kids with disabilities don’t suffer because of people’s Soviet mentality.”

The campaign is also gaining ground in the capital city of Kyiv. Oleksii Krasnoshchokov, a disability-rights advocate who now works with veterans of the war in Ukraine says people are slowly changing but it is still a work in progress.

Oleksii, Pigmoga.Info founder: “Unfortunately people with disabilities are still viewed as somewhat of an attraction. This of course stirs up negative tendencies, but I think once more attention is brought to this issue, and the society starts to form their own thoughts and opinions – people become more civilized.”

In today’s Ukraine public views are improving but disability-rights activists say many are afraid of what the society may think of them. Oleksii underlines the importance of being involved and striving to change those perceptions instilled during the Soviet times.

Ukraine Today