Ana Maisuradze, 29, Tbilisi

“I am Ana Maisuradze, a 29 year-old woman with disabilities from Tbilisi. Currently I am working at the bookshop Santa Esperanza. My favorite pastimes, among others, are books, music, singing, and computer games. I am a graduate of a few universities. In a nutshell, my life is no different from those of many others living in my city. My problem is not so much disability as the people’s attitude towards me – be it staring, making remarks or whispering to one another. Most people treat me as if I were vulnerable and fragile and show unnecessary care.

I have been living alone for a few months already. I had always thought that I wouldn’t be able to do that. Not because I had disabilities, or because I was too dependent on my mother. The reason is that I have been afraid of the dark since childhood and wasn’t sure that I could live alone for long. This problem somehow has solved itself. I enjoy living by myself and feel quite comfortable.

I want you to know that I am a feminist and a member of the Platform for New Opportunities – a movement of women with disabilities. Women with disabilities in Georgia face many challenges. They stay at home, have restricted access to education. Very often, the family hides their member with disabilities and locks them up for years. A similar case took place in my neighborhood. A 26 year girl pass away and I didn’t even know about her existence even though I knew her brother, her parents. She was never seen outside, not even on a balcony of their home. It turned out that the family had been hiding her. We want to change this, and improve engagement of the women with disabilities in the public life.”