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“I`ve realized what it means to be free and I didn’t want to go back to the way it used to be before”


Natalia Andrianova is 38 years old. She has a short haircut; she wears jeans and long sleeves that reveal her beautiful strong arms. And she also has cerebral palsy. But don`t judge too soon! One hardly can call Natalia the Blagoye delo`s ward. Actually, the idea of the “Sociopolis”, the supported living project emerged because of her. Now Natasha works three jobs and saves up for a summer vacation. Also, she wants to have her own room in a new house, which is being built by the Blagoye delo.

About the power of words and a character

Natalia Andrianova became one of the first people with disabilities who got a place in a training apartment, where people from orphanages and neurological care homes are taught to live without support throughout the day and choose what to do on their own.

Natalia strived to live independently so much that in 2019 she helped the organization’s team to get the first supported living apartment in Novouralsk. She delivered an impassioned speech in the city`s administration.

“Natasha told everyone how necessary and important such apartment is. And she did it so positively, strongly and reasonably, that after her speech the administration had no questions left. She says that Natasha is an interesting and important person for the organization. “She needs support, but she can give it to others.”

Vera Simakova, the Director General of the NGO Blagoye delo

Natasha was able to restore her legal capacity and now she occupies three posts in the Blagoye delo: she sews in a sewing workshop, washes dishes in the kitchen, and does cleaning in a newly opened cultural centre.

There’s no time to be bored — I’m saving up for a trip

Natasha works even on weekends. She saves up money for a trip to the south, where she wants to swim in the sea, lay on the sand, sleep outside, and not itch from mosquito bites. Due to her busy schedule, she has no time to go to her favorite dance classes. But she states that now she finally understands how to choose what you want to do. “I didn’t like living in a care home, although I didn’t know any other conditions. In the Blagoye delo I`ve realized what it means to be free and after that I didn’t want to go back to the way it used to be before,” says Natasha.

“Every day it was like a groundhog`s day: get up, morning exercises, breakfast, assembly, work, lunch, afternoon tea, water the flower beds, assembly again, and sleep. We had to dig out potatoes and shovel away snow to buy a kilo of sugar at least. The administration announced on the assembly what kind of work people needed, and I always volunteered. I had no wish to sit all day in a care home,” Natasha had to ask permission from several employees to go to the store, and then write out a pass with a time limit.

She doesn`t know who her parents were, since she always lived in state care institutions. 

At the training apartment, she felt differently. She realized that she could go to the store or for a walk whenever she wanted, she learned how to peel potatoes, and cook.

“Sometimes I wish I had mom…”

Natasha Andrianova does not want to pity her interlocutor with a story. In fact, she proudly says that she wanted to become a digital processing master — and she did it. Then she edited videos about holidays in a care home. She proudly tells how she learned to work on a sewing machine and sewed a dress, but she does not wear it, because jeans are more comfortable. When someone asks if it is hard for her, she says that she is learning to be happy, but it is difficult because sometimes loneliness comes over to her.

“Sometimes I wish I had a mom. I want to find relatives who will love me and will be there for me, celebrate holidays with me. It is a story of my life. As soon as you get used to people, they go away, others come in their place – and so on. Here I have made some good friends, but my own kin would be better,”

Natasha Andrianova has no savings at all and, despite her determination, she will not be able to buy an appartment herself. Natasha is not eligible for a social housing either. Now she has to move from one training apartment to another, but a room is planned for her in a house under construction. There Natasha could live without the necessity to move out again. Natasha will live next door to other guys from the Blagoye delo and will certainly find a loved one who will not leave her.

Written by Ekaterina Yurkova