Elena is a passionate social activist and knitter, amongst many others, with so much liveliness and contaminating energy that inspired UNDP Moldova’s team.
We asked Elena to share her experience as our intern and how was to join us for four months.
I often react to many social issues and see what I can do personally to address them. One of the most memorable ones was a situation that concerned the accessibility of a medical center. I was visiting it and because no accessible entrance was available, I had to take off my shoes (one of them is 10 cm longer than the other) and climb the stairs on my knees. And this was when I said — “Enough is enough.”
I choose to see changes around me, I choose to be part of the changes by actively engaging and trying to share my energy with other people. Maybe this will make them act.
There is no “I cannot”, there is “I do not want to do it”. Results are waiting around the corner, we just have to make efforts, it all depends on us.
I found out about the UNDP internship opportunity on social networks and decided to apply, being curious if I would be accepted. And I was.
In my capacity as an intern, I develop, systematize, and process various financial and administrative documents. I learned so many things that I already benefit from and I am looking forward to sharing them with my peers. I would like them to come out in the spotlight and not remain locked between four walls. The magic happens outside our safe zone, but we are afraid to cross it. Everyone is.
Here, at UNDP, I really feel that I belong to a family, with equal rights. My colleagues are always by my side, explaining things and involving me in work processes. I enjoy the best accessibility, all is adapted so that I could perform my tasks in a comfortable manner.
Not only my working place is accessible, but the entire building. I climb and descend easily on the access ramp (an important detail, as there is no time to be wasted!). The elevator is adapted not only to people using wheelchairs but also to those with visual and hearing impairments. It seems like an insignificant detail but it makes life so much easier for all those with special needs.
I feel pretty good here, I can surely state that. I mean, I finally feel I have equal rights, not just on paper, but in reality, too. Does it require so much from people with all the abilities to accept us among them?
Later edit: At the time of the interview, Elena ran for the position of local councilor in her native village, Dolna, rayon Strășeni, and was elected. She was the only person with disabilities from Moldova who obtained the mandate as an independent candidate.
Since 2016, the United Nations in Moldova conducts the Diversity Internship Programme, for people from underrepresented groups in UN team. Being available for people from underrepresented groups — such as ethnic minorities, persons with disabilities, persons living with HIV, etc., — these internships do not only open new opportunities, but also contribute to a better social inclusion.
This year, six interns joined UNDP Moldova’s team.
Text: Otilia Vlasov & Elena Crismari
Photo/video: UNDP Moldova