This was a life-changing experience for me.
My name is Tatul Jilavyan, I am 16 years old. I live in the village of Koghb, in a traditional family of 6. I have a 22-year-old brother, Garik, and we both use wheelchairs. We are both infinitely grateful to our parents and grandmother who have always done their best to ensure a good education for us and to make sure that we are fully integrated into society by being involved in organizations that defend our rights.
I have been going to Bridge of Hope since I was 5, benefiting from most of the services they provide. I started using their computer service since 10, then I became a member of the debate club. First, there were my debate classes, then public speaking and media literacy. They gave me a new platform for self-expression and communication. I really enjoyed what I learned about the theatre, acting, photography, and blogging. This was a life-changing experience for me. My scene characters, especially “The Little Prince” by Antoine de Saint-Exupéry, were defining for my life.
Each of us has their mission in the world and on the planet where ourLord has placed us. When we realize and accept our role in the world - even the modest unremarkable one - then we find happiness.
The theatre scene is a platform for me, where I can speak up about inclusion, and use my presence to change the stereotypes of people with disabilities. And with regard to photography and blogging, which I learned at Bridge of Hope and with my brother’s great support, they might become my profession in the future.
Life has taught me to be strong and to overcome hardships instead of suffering and pitying myself, to stay away from the naive belief that everything in life must go smoothly. It has taught me that setbacks, failures, hardships, and losses are just natural parts of life which help us grow stronger.
We need to be responsible for the ones we love and realize that by playing our part we help to build a better world for everyone.
Tatul Jilavyan, Participant of the CNC network project “Speaking of Myself, NGO "Bridge of Hope", Tavush Marz, Armenia