Spaska Davranova lives in Sofia, Bulgaria. She works as a technical associate at Bulgarian National Radio. She works with a young and ambitious team for the last two years. After graduating from High School she lived for the last 20 years in a residential institution for persons with disabilities with her husband Marin Davranov whom she married in 1991. In 2009, five years after her husband passed away she decided to live in Sofia. At first she lived with her parents but she then found a place of her own with her own assistance.
What is your personal experience of disability?
My experience in the disability field is basically what I managed to experience on my own. As a teenager I thought that the disability is the thing that is restraining me from a normal life. My first experience at regular environment was between 1986 and 1990 at the high school that I attended. I was the only person with disability in my class and my classmates were very helpful and helped me a lot to become free and independent.
How did you discover the Independent Living movement?
It was pure intuition – I’ve just managed to realize that the restraints in my life are not from my disability as I thought in my early years, but the environment which lacks accessibility and adaptations. The second thing that I realized is that the change begins from me. I didn’t have the NGO support and the peer support. The NGO’s that I heard of were just names which I had never seen actually work for us. That was until 2009 when friends of mine introduced me to CIL Sofia and its Executive Director Mrs. Kapka Panayotova. When I acquired the information about the structure, the goals and the mission that CIL Sofia was working on for disabled persons in Bulgaria and after being part of PA learning organized by the organization I realized that their actions complete my vision of the Independent Living movement.
Is there an area of Independent Living that you are especially interested in?
The difference between “self-sufficient” and “Independent” definitely was the thing that I was interested to. In Bulgaria we are used to thinking of self-sufficient way of living which in some ways is not possible. That’s why we, the disabled people need independence which is the life you want to live but with the right type of assistance, accessibility and technical aids.
Who has influenced you the most, and how?
I’m not very sure whether “influence” is the right word or not but I strongly support the causes, the point of view and the fight for human rights led by the Centre for Independent Living Sofia.
What personal achievement are you most proud of?
I’m proud for still being able to love and to be loved.
Do you have a favorite saying or proverb?
“When one wants to develop the destiny is aiding and when one doesn’t want the destiny is dragging.” – Seneka
What motivates you to get up in the morning?
Being alive is the only motivation I need.
What do you like to do when you’re not working?
I love to read, to take long walks, to go the cinema, theatre or just to stay in on Facebook.
If you could invite anyone to a dinner party, who would be your ideal guests?
Usually the people I invite to dinner are the people that I feel close to. They make me feel great and I don’t even bother if they are going to like my culinary “masterpieces”!
What advice would you give to young adults with a disability?
Be searching, brave, sincere and consistent. Never give up and never accept failure as an occasion to pity your selves. Accept yourselves as you are and if there is something you want to change – just be consistent.