Ina K. (Germany)
I am Ina, 25 years old woman studying special education for penalized and disabled people in Germany. I was in the Czech Republic from September 2017 to February 2018 because I really wanted to make some experiences abroad. Erasmus gave me the opportunity for this.
I lived in the dorm in Hostivař where Daniela was also living. There I saw a posting on the wall with Daniela’s job offer. As I saw this, I was really happy because of several reasons:
– I really wanted to meet someone who knows how life in Prague is going on, – I wanted to make some practical experiences beside my theoretical lectures, – I wanted to know what the conditions for people with disabilities are in other countries, – I wanted to support personal assistance introduced by the Independent-living movement. Because I think personal assistance at home is better for most of the people with disabilities than living in an institution. At home they can get the chance for more autonomous life and opportunity to be equal part of the society (if the conditions are given).
But it turned out that this work was more than that. Being abroad, far away from my family and friends, was not always easy for me. But Daniela was always there. When I was at her place, I felt like at home. Once a week, at least, I was with her. I accompanied her to the university, made food for her and cleaned her flat. When Daniela had time, we ate or drank some tea and talked about everything under the sun. In the end, our cooperation turned to friendship which, I hope, can stand the distance.
Daniela is a very open-minded person. She respects others and values them in a very authentic and honest way. I never met someone before, who combines these aspects in this enjoyable way. She is very caring about others. My english is not so good (in German we would say: it is not the yellow from the egg :D), but it was never hard to find a way to communicate with Daniela. She is very flexible with that kind of issue. I even loved to talk with her because conversations with her are funny or deep. All in all, Daniela is a wonderful person and I do not regret one minute I spend with her!!!!
In Germany I do assistance for a woman with epilepsy since 2013. This experience and of course the time with Daniela let me think of assistance work as a very intimate encounter. Not only because you have physical contact, but because of some situations you will never experience on your own (expect you have a disability). I am not happy about this moments but I learned much about myself and how our capitalist society works. These situations are about discrimination against disabilities – discriminations by persons, institutions, states, etc. Because of these experiences, I have developed many wishes that I want to tell about:
I wish that someday disabled people are not penalized anymore, that they do not get stupid views from people and that they can choose educated assistants. I wish that someday they have absolute access to public transports and shops. I wish that they do not have to wait hours for the opening of a lift (which usually transports goods) to come out of a restaurant. I wish that they can work in normal workplaces, have sex and children. I wish that one day they get the right compensation for their penalization and discrimination now.
I think that through these experiences I learned why it is so important to support ideas like assistance work. It could be, at least, one thing you can do against the bad issues in our world.
Something in German: Ein guter Assistent ist für mich eine Person, die den Menschen mit Behinderung als Chef anerkennt und die Dienstleistung nach den Zielen, Zwecken, Wünschen und Inhalten des Menschen mit Behinderung ausrichtet.
Translated: For me, a good assistant is a person who recognizes the disabled person as the boss and orients the service / work according to the purpose, aim, wish and content of the disabled person.
At the time of being Daniela’s personal assistant, Ina was a student of special education for penalized and disabled people at Charles University in Prague.