Oleg Kolpashchikov is the head of the White Cane social movement, which, with the help from Rosatom, turns people with disabilities into “positive handicaps.”
My name is Oleg Kolpashchikov. I am the head of the White Cane social movement. What does our organization do? Putting it very simply, we do consulting, coaching, talents development. If I were to phrase it pretentiously, I would say that we strive to create a world where people find out about their special abilities, the so-called extrability (a combination of ‘extra’ and ‘ability’).
We are putting into practice the principle of “challenges are opportunities” in relation to an individual.
I lost my sight in an accident when I was 21 years old. However, my life did not stop despite such a challenge. Why? Because I was able to adapt to my physical status and return to life in society via activating the special inner capabilities hidden in every person.
Having learned to open access to my own inner resources, I strive to help other people find sleeping powers and abilities in themselves. Constraints are the breeding ground for the emergence of such special abilities. This is by law of nature that whenever there is less in one place, there is surely more in another. A person impaired in some way physically will develop automatically one or several other abilities to be able to live. Rarely can healthy people compare with people in wheelchairs in assiduity and patience. Likewise, healthy people are suprised how good non-sighted people can operate while in information gap.
There are 15% of people with disabilities in the world, and no one can answer why they are needed and how they can be useful to society. Through our programs, we teach people to live fully, act independently and help others.
We are creating a new model of inclusive interaction of people with disabilities with society, thereby improving the quality of life of a large number of people.
We have been cooperating with Rosatom since 2015. It is valuable to me that apart from the traditional corporate financial assistance, Rosatom shares our worldview and values and strongly supports our initiatives both in Russia and abroad. All our joint projects, such as the last ones in Turkey, Armenia and in Russia, receive serious support from the local population, as well as the broadest coverage in the world media.
Cooperation with representatives of the nuclear industry became a unique experience for me, because it taught me how to see the whole picture, to plan carefully and think several steps forward. Rosatom needs to plan for 40-60-80 years in advance. These corporate values have forced us to rethink our work in many ways.
Today, we hold joint inclusive regattas “Sails of the Spirit” all over the world, in which people with and without disabilities take part. Such events are a demonstration of extrability by a living example, which teach you the tolerance of uncertainty and bring communication to the new level. When we started, we ourselves did not really understand what would happen, there was no money or experience. However, our partners believed in us, and with their support the project is growing, and already, one might say, is developing all over the world.
More than 1,000 people took part in our regattas, which have covered over 20,000 miles. “Sails of the Spirit” is the beginning of a positive transformation of the social role for each of its participants.
I dream of a world where there is room for mutual help and inclusive interaction. There is not one side that gives or the other that takes away. All people – with and without disabilities – can fully discover and apply their hidden talents and capabilities. Our initiatives help people find this inner energy in themselves.