Role Model: Pavel Kadokov

Role Model: Pavel Kadokov

Pavel Kadõkov was 19 years old, when he lost his eyesight and right hand in a bomb explosion. “Am I not going to be able to live a life?”- was the first question that popped up in his head. This accident lead him to a crisis that made him stop escaping from himself and find thoughts and values that gave him the real power to live.

Could you tell me a little bit about your background?

I like hiking and different kind of sporting activities but also I have been reading a lot of books. I have been studying psychology in the University of Tartu. Right now I am the owner of two companies.  After becoming disabled I opened my inner world and realized this is what really is `me`. It became important to find the contact with my inner world and this contact needs to be taken care of all the time.

Could you describe your working life?

I am the owner of two one man businesses. One of them is providing training on how different sounds affect our mind and body. The other one is producing natural cosmetics.

I enjoy my work very much. I have been leading all the processes from the beginning to the end. For example if it comes to production of a new cosmetic, then I put together the receipe, create a package that functions as good as it looks and make all the contacts with other companies for selling it.

My basic idea is to continously  develop my products as well as myself and to not leave behind even the smallest details.  This way of working is a big pleasure, because that way I can build my capacity in so many different areas. I like learning and I also like developing my personal skills and I know with these companies it will always be possible to learn something new so I never have to work just only to earn money.

Beside all that I want to say big thanks to my wife. Since I have way too few hours of assistance, she has been my eyes and my hands and is a very important factor for keeping my companies going.

What were the biggest obstacles for you to overcome before you got involved in the open labor market?

After the accident I was still used to receiving most information with my eyes. It was hard to learn to imagine the picture based on the information received by hearing.

The lack of assistance means that I have to earn enough money to pay for the necessary assistance and other costs caused by disablity. Also using assistance means additional organisational work for me. I have to find people to help me, schedule them and give them the exact instructions  on what and how to do things.

You also have your Russian background, could you tell me, how this influences your life?

Yes, this is a question that I have to answer often and I always answer the same way. I am not Russian and I am not Estonian, I am Ukrainian. With this, I mean that I do not want to position myself by nationality at all. I just do not think that nationality has a real meaning in the context of our society. Some people just give it a certain kind of meaning and make a problem out of it. Then again I think it is their problem, not mine.

I am quite sure that this attitude has been the main reason why I have not experienced any severe discrimination based on nationality. I speak fluent Estonian and Russian. I am interested in different countries’ culture and never stress about my nationality. In relation to other people, Russians take me as a Russian and Estonians take me as an Estonian without realizing that if we analyze this question very throughougly, than I am Ukrainian instead.

I can remember that I had some fights with other students in basic school, but it never developed into something big and harmful so I think it was not a question of discrimination based on nationality, it is a question of people seeking a reason to fight. When somebody wants to fight, than they will just find something in one’s personality and if they can not pick on you because of your nationality or disability, they just pick on you because of something else.

Who or what inspires you to live such an active life?

The crisis after my accident inspired me a lot. I had a choice to leave life, exist somehow or live a meaningful life. Having put myself into dangerous situations lead to the lose of my eyesight and created a great opportunity  to develop contact with my inner world and to self development. Thanks to the crisis it became very hard to escape from myself so in a certain way I met myself through all the inner dialogues. From there appeared the force to experience the world exactly the way it is and leave behind the illusions.

Which personal achievement are you the most proud of?

I was working for the library of Tartu university as a councellor and project manager for production of audio books. The cooperation was very good and the project got celebrated at International level.

What advice do you give to other disabled people?

To the majority of people, who can see, I would like to say: Learn, how to see. This recommendation seems not to make any sense on the first look. Why should we learn, how to see? Is it not just a question of good eyesight? Most people say that they receive most information with their eyes, which usually is true, but most tend not to see things like they are, but in the light of earlier life experiences. So most people actually are more in contact with their memory instead of really seeing the ongoing situation.  To be able to see the ongoing situation we have to learn how to see.

It is not so hard just to keep in mind that situations might seem different from what they really are and not to rush to making conclusions and considering somebody else’s interests as yours.

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