Sergei Drozdovskiy works for the Office for the Rights of Persons with Disabilities in Minsk, Belarus. He was born in 1973 and graduated from the Belarusian State Polytechnic University (Engineering). He has worked with civil society organisations, as a Project Coordinator and in NGO Management. He has been disabled since 1996. In 1997, he was one of the founders of PA “Republican Association of Wheelchair-bound Disabled”. He was Chairperson of this organisation from 2001-2011. He has also been a member of the Republican Interdepartmental Council on disability issues. Sergei has also taught at the State Institute of Management and Social Technologies of BSU and has taught courses in “Social Protection of disabled” and the “Science of Rehabilitation”.
Is there an area of Independent Living that you are especially interested in?
I first read about independent living in an article in 1998. In 2001, I visited the Institute of Independent Living in Stockholm, Sweden. Then in 2009, within the framework of the UNDP Project, I organized a study visit for a group of Belarusian officials to the Institute of Independent Living, Stockholm.
When I was becoming familiar with disability, Independent Living offered me a concept- an alternative to the paternalist model of disability. In the beginning, I used the Independent Living philosophy and it served as a system of practical guidelines. It helped me to understand the importance of the principle of participating in decision making about my own life and decisions on the processes influencing my way of life. Later on the Independent Living philosophy integrated into my own view of disability.
Who had the strongest influence on you in the area of disabilities?
Famous people – F. Roosevelt, R. Charles, A Yassin, S. Hawking, A. Ratske and N. Ritzi.
Which is your achievement you are most proud of?
The creation of the “Office for the Rights of Persons with Disabilities”
Your favourite sentence or wisdom?
“Do what you have to do and come what may”
What makes you wake up in the morning?
Alarm clock and coffee
What do you do in your leisure time – when you are not working?
Travel, communicate with friends, watch movies and read books.
Whom would you invite for dinner if you could have a chance to – who would be your ideal guests?
I would like to have a dinner with Jurgen Habermas, Michel Foucault
What would be your advice for the young people with disabilities?
To think and to act. To think how to get the necessary knowledge about themselves and their environment, about their human rights, profession and how to use this knowledge. To set goals. To act – to achieve the goals they set.