Strong spirit turns obstacles into small dusts along the way

Photography: Zhivka Georgieva

Krasi is 34 years old, with a disease that keeps him bound on a wheelchair. When his parents learned about his illness years ago, they left their hometown and relocated to Sofia to be closer to the best doctors and to give their child the best chance in life. This is a story you will hear from early each visitor at the Blagoveshtenie Center at Caritas Sofia providing professional care to disabled children and young people.

Krasi lives with his father and stepmother in an apartment where he does not have his own room. He is immersed in a small personal universe, bounded by stairs and curbs, computer, music, and meetings with his friends in Blagoveshtenie Center, which he visits several times a week with a specialized bus driven by Orlin, a collaborator at Caritas Center.

A joyful person, with a great sense of humor and an inexhaustible desire to try new things, Krasi is not the man in a wheelchair you would expect to see. The first thing to surprise you is the smile that just could not be erased from his face and the serenity with which he drives away the soul-biting pity. If there is one thing he likes to do the most, it is to talk to everyone. And no wonder that he has plenty of friends.

Krasi began visiting the Blagoveshtenie Center 16 years ago, along with Vercheto and Gogata, his closest friends there, whom he knows since childhood, when they went together to school. One of his greatest wishes is to become a software programmer. Knowing his wish, Radi, the psychologist at Blagoveshtenie Center, has set out to find a way to make his dream come true.

Talking to Radi reveals that her job is not only about providing psychological support to young people and their parents, but also searching for ways to socialize them. She tries to discover their strengths, their interests and what they can do to turn into their profession, and even a source of income and independence.

For Krasi, the work of a computer specialist is not something beyond reach. He is restricted in his movements and moves around with a wheelchair, but it does not change the fact that he is a smart and positive young person who can learn and willing to develop. In addition to self-learning, it is completely realistic for people in his situation and for his abilities to be trained by specialists who will contribute to making these young people’s dreams come true.
You can talk with Krasi about everything, joke, play a chess, and see how he would beat you a few times if you make the mistake of underestimating him. Because Krasi is like us all – a young man with dreams and interests, knowledge and abilities. But there is something in which he bests – with the power of his spirit he can achieve so much, despite his physical obstacles.

While in other countries Krasi’s condition would bring him pure physical discomfort but would not stop him from pursuing his goals and from taking full-fledged participation in community life, in Bulgaria Krasi must visit a socialization and integration center in order to go to an exhibition or the botanical garden, to fight with many administrative obstacles, curbs, stairs and inaccessible urban environments. And it could break the spirit of everyone. Almost everyone, because Krassie does not surrender, the smile cannot be erased down from his face, and he does not allow the stairs embarrassing his day.

Orlin always drives on the Caritas bus a ramp specially made by Krasi’s father to overcome the steep surface. However, Krasi bears the real big ramp inside himself. It is his personal urge to cope, which, more than the metal ramp, helps him rise above the muddy city with broken tiles.

Asked what he wants to change in his life, Krasi frankly says he wants to change the environment around him, to remove the physical obstacles to him and to people in a condition like his.

We, in turn, wish him to overcome the community stereotypes and to find a job as a programmer. Because he can. Besides himself, all who know him believe in it, as well as the collaborators in “Blagoveshtenie” Center who support him in all his endeavors.