On 13 September at the Metropolitan Andrey Sheptytsky Center, the Emmaus Center presented a photo exhibit “It’s good that you are you. Stories of families who have a child with special needs.” The photographs illustrate relations among various members of the family: mother and daughter, father and sons, grandmother, grandfather and grandchildren, friendship among brothers, and also a godmother with goddaughter.
Those at the Emmaus Center are convinced that people with disabilities can be truly happy only when they feel that their family and those close accept them. So one of the most important areas of activity of Emmaus is supporting families who have a child with special needs.
“In our daily work, we meet families who, regardless of the disability of a loved one, have learned to be happy,” explains Natalia Yurakh, organizer of the exhibit. “They have something to tell us about the importance and true value of relations in the family and they also give the whole society an example of how to approach people with disabilities.”
Christina Angles d’Auriac, director of Emmaus, explains:
“In this exhibit we hoped to show the beauty and depth of relations in a family where there is a child with special needs. We want to break widespread stereotypes that the life of a person with disabilities is only pain. Once I was very impressed by the words of a woman with special needs who said that disability does not keep her from being happy. At Emmaus, every day demonstrates this.”
Halyna Hushul and Diana, her daughter with autism, are some of the heroes of the photo exhibit. It took five years for Diana’s diagnosis to be made and even longer to accept her disability.
“Life with a child who has special needs is different that I had imagined,” Ms. Hushul shares. “But there are many beautiful moments. Sometimes it is painful when I look into the past. I look into the future and it becomes frightening. But Diana teaches me to give each day to God, because He knows what will be. Today with sincere heart I can tell my daughter ‘It’s good that you are you.’”
Ludmyla Annych, mother of a daughter with cerebral palsy and coordinator of the Parents for Parents program, which supports families who have a child with special needs, asserts:
“It is truly not easy for parents to accept the disability of their child. Often such families must prove to the world that, nevertheless, they are as normal as other people. And this is very exhausting. A family like this very much needs the support of organizations like the Emmaus Center. Then they’ll be able in time to say those important words to their child: ‘It’s good that you are you.’”
The following photographers worked on the photo exhibit: Kateryna Ptakha, Natalia Raiinyk, and Myroslav Lesiuk. The exposition is located in the hall near the park auditorium and runs until 6 October.