Don't walk? Just move ahead!

  • 2000-04-20
  • By Anna Pridanova
She says that if she sets a goal, she will achieve it. She is the one causing surprise and shocking people by her self-confidence that to some people seems incompatible with her look and mobility.

Lolita Andersone, a lawyer and the acting consultant at the state Bureau of Human Rights is physically challenged. She has muscular dystrophy and needs assistance in her everyday routines. She has worked in her profession for only four years, but has a very long working experience, where low-skill work dominates. She did such work for several years, though she was hampered with an ambiguous statement: permanently disabled. Explaining how she got her current job after years of studying at the university, and then years of working out of her academic field, Andersone exemplifies determination.

Five years ago she faced the same problems as other disabled people meet now. She was also refused registration at the local Employment Service. But despite this, she was back at the service in a month with an "acceptable" statement from the state Employability Medical Commission.

"People refused by Employment Service usually don't know that they can change the status. They are probably not as eager as I am, and give in too soon."

Coming back to the Employment Service, she was provided assistance in searching for a suitable job, but five months later, the job found her.

"They didn't help me much. Besides, I could not attend the courses because I received a state retirement benefit," Andersone said.

Asked whether she had any problems starting to work in the new environment, Andersone explains, "The problem in the very beginning was that my colleagues just didn't know how to treat me. They didn't know what I could do myself and when I needed someone's help, Andersone said.

"Initially I worked part-time. The first two weeks I had someone beside me all the time and looking for another person to take his place during lunch. Two weeks later, when they finally realized that I could manage to pick up the phone myself, they just left without looking for a substitute."

The cause of discrimination against the disabled in the work market is just lack of attention, Andersone said.

"People never treat me bad because of my disability. They are just shocked and don't know what to do about me."