Rusa Chkhaidze, 29, Batumi

“I had a leg amputation when I was 15. It happened so unexpectedly and at such an early age that realization did not hit me very hard. For that reason, I managed to leave this difficult period of my life behind really fast.

At the age of 16, I started using prosthesis. I adapted to this “foreign body” quite well and it allowed me to better socialize with people. I have never been a stay-at-home even though I had my fair share of obstacles in communicating with the wider public. People saw my condition as tragic and expressed sympathy even though I had already overcome that phase. I was more worried not about my situation but about people’s attitude. As I rarely saw people like me outside and received weird reaction from other, it brought me down. Gradually, it all passed thanks to my upbeat personality. I realized that worrying and distressing would not bring me any good. I think this experience of mine has made me stronger than I would have been …

We have a family business and I work in our café-bar together with my brother. I do the cashier’s work and other chores. I enjoy working in this sector as I have a chance to meet many different people and observe their attitude to me. I can see that people like me and they are happy to come back to our café. I meet them with a smile and this makes me happy.

I am very sorry that I did not receive education because of my complexes in the past. Besides, the environment was not adapted and the people’s attitude was not bearable. Today, things have changed for the better, there is more involvement and awareness, which helps the society change their behavior when dealing with us. I believe that we will have a better progress in the future.”