The sad reality is that people who are in any way considered ‘different’ are very likely to experience discrimination in their life. It looks like the societies have a long way to go until they learn to accept every person the way they are.
Sofya Zakharova is a girl from Russia who was born with a deformity of the skull and fused fingers and toes. Despite that, she is a very bright and happy child whose parents love her to the moon and back and would do all in their power for her to thrive. Sadly, the place where they live isn’t really open to embracing differences so little Sofya was banned from attending pre-k because of her looks.
The problem is that they live in a rural area in an apartment with no heating and no water and a single pre-k institution.
The reason why the manager of the pre-k refused to let Sofya attend the facility is that “she would scare other kids.” Her parents were devastated to hear this. They knew their girl might be stared at once she grows older, but never expected for her to be discriminated from such a young age.
Russia does have some anti-discrimination laws, but they are yet to be shaped.
After the story of Sofya spread around, a charity organization from the area, Rainbow Goodness decided to step in and try convincing the pre-k to enroll Sofya, but the small-minded manager said he would only let that happen if she undergoes a corrective surgery. The parents are poor and can barely provide food, let alone a surgery of that type. Childhood psychology experts got involved as well and explained how Sofya should be around other kids and interact with them, but the day care is still refusing to change their ridiculous decision.
But although the charity failed at helping with the pre-k issue, they still managed to move the Zakharovas to a different apartment with gas and running water.
The local government decided to step in and provide Sofya with a surgery, so she will soon be flying to Moscow. But no matter how much the parents appreciate the help they are getting, what they truly want is for the anti-discrimination laws to be applied with full force so that no other child will ever have to go through the same ordeal as their child.