29 Листопада 2023
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It is no longer necessary to talk about the uniqueness of each individual. Everyone has their own world, builds their own life, and understands and perceives everything in their own way. Of course, we have common functional abilities, namely legs, arms, eyes, etc. But have you ever wondered how those with at least one functional disorder perceive this world? For example, a visual impairment. Remember your state when you woke up at night from a strange or scary dream and could not see anything in the complete darkness. Or when you had put something somewhere and could not find it for a long time. And there are people who have no eyesight at all or have lost it because of one reason or another. How do they navigate in space and know where their possessions are?…

I would like to share with you the story of a woman who, despite having lost her eyesight, realized herself as a professional and a motivator. Not only did she preserve her passion for life and psychology as her specialty, but she also became a successful psychotherapist who helps a lot of people.

Meet Nataliia Medvedeva, a blind psychologist with a Master’s degree in social psychology.

She graduated from Zaporizhzhia State University and completed her postgraduate studies at the Kostiuk Institute of Psychology at the National Academy of Educational Sciences of Ukraine. She had experience of working with students with disabilities at the Open International University of Human Development “Ukraine,” and worked as a psychologist and teacher of computer technologies for the blind at the All-Ukrainian Rehabilitation Center of the Ukrainian Society of the Blind for 10 years.

As a communicator in the area of education, science, and innovation, it is certainly important for me to know the features of inclusive education as well, and it is also important for implementation of significant projects. That is why I met Natalia. It so happened that our cooperation began with a joint trip to Poland to take part in a mobility and orientation workshop. It was there that I realized and saw the uniqueness of this woman. I am a fairly simple and open person, so after expressing excuses to Natalia, I wondered if I could ask her some, maybe, strange questions, but I needed to know the answers:

– How do you know how much it’s necessary to tilt the cup when you are drinking coffee?

– How do you find your way around the restroom so quickly?

– How do you do your makeup?

– Do you cook by yourself? And you clean the room, too???

– Do you ever hit your little finger on the furniture?

In other words, my knowledge about people with visual impairments was very limited regarding the practical skills of such people in everyday life. So, to understand everything, I started to get to know Natalia, and maybe even research her.

Of course, I received answers to all my questions and even more – I could observe and even feel by myself. At some points, I was even sure that Natalia could actually see. She eats her breakfast and lunch and drinks coffee perfectly well, according to all the etiquette rules, and simultaneously she manages to keep a conversation going. When we were in a hurry (and usually we were), I was accompanying Natalia and, in most cases, I didn’t have to tell her about the stairs. She could feel me, and she confidently lifted her foot before the beginning of the stairs or turned left/right. We worked actively all the days of the workshop and even found time to enjoy Warsaw. For instance, we visited the old town and watched the sunset on the top of the library, explored the embankment and, of course, we did some shopping. Each of us enjoyed the time a lot and tried new flavours and new things.

During our journey, Natalia held a master class in therapy using metaphorical cards, which have no monosemantic interpretation but only evoke imagination and fantasy. Therefore, working with them is not so easy as it might seem at first. Yes, she works with graphic information as well. Summarizing my first trip with a blind psychologist, I can firmly conclude that all the boundaries are only in our heads.

Natalia dreams of writing a book about a blind psychologist, in which she wants to tell her life story, her experiences and worries, the situations she has faced, and her advice for people who want to live a full life. She is currently participating in the international project “Regeneration” to provide psychological support to Ukrainian women during the war hostilities in Ukraine.

Nataliia is an active participant in various social projects aimed at improving the lives of people with disabilities, especially people with visual impairments or the blind. She is currently working as head of the inclusive direction in the “Health of the Future” charitable foundation.

She is an example of willpower, optimism, and self-development

Natalia helps people as a practical psychologist and deals with psychosomatic problems. She uses the methods of Gestalt therapy, transactional analysis, body-oriented psychotherapy, and is currently studying a process-oriented approach. She also works effectively with metaphorical association cards. Last year, she completed quite a lot of courses on overcoming psychological trauma.

As a psychologist who cannot see physically, Natalia has developed her own unique style of therapeutic work. Before the full-scale war, she arranged groups for women to focus on the topics of relationships, especially relationship with mothers, and she was happy to see positive changes in the lives of many participants.

A computer with an installed special screen access program helps Natalia a lot in her work. This program reads out the text from the screen with a synthesized voice and allows her to read and write using the keyboard, so Natalia can communicate with her clients through the Internet, deliver lectures, read articles, and listen to audiobooks and music.

As an ordinary woman and a human being, she can walk by herself, using a white stick, but after the outbreak of Russia’s full-scale invasion of Ukraine, it has become more difficult. However, Natalia is confident there will be time when she will be able to move around the city easily again, meeting her friends for a cup of coffee in a cafe.

I know the question arises: what were the circumstances when she lost her eyesight? Nataliia Medvedeva began losing her eyesight about 20 years ago at a young age, and even 10 surgeries did not help to save it.

Today, Natalia is an open and sociable person who is ready to share her experience of how she turned from a disoriented girl who had suddenly lost her sight into a person who is walking her own path. She wants to inspire other people facing difficulties and show to them that everything is possible if you have a dream and desire!

I greatly admire this woman and her achievements. Natalia proves that there are no impossible situations, but only impossible moods. She inspires me to become better and not to give up in front of difficulties.


Prepared by Nataliia BOVTRUK


“THE INVINCIBLE LADY” is a series of articles about Ukrainian women and girls that motivate, fascinate, and inspire.

This initiative is part of the project “Empowerment of Women and Girls with Disabilities by Strengthening their Involvement and Leadership in Communities,” which is being implemented by the National Assembly of People with Disabilities of Ukraine with the support from the UN Women Ukraine and the Women’s Peace and Humanitarian Fund.

About the UN Women’s Peace and Humanitarian Fund (WPHF)

The UN Women’s Peace and Humanitarian Fund is a unified global financial mechanism designed exclusively to support the participation of women in peace and security building and humanitarian responses. Governed by a range of civil society, governments, and the UN actors, WPHF is a multi-partner trust fund that mobilizes urgently needed funding for local women-led organizations and works together with women on the frontlines to build lasting peace. WPHF has provided funding and supported capacity building for more than 500 local civil society organizations working with the “Women, Peace, and Security” agenda and implementing humanitarian activities in 28 crisis-affected countries.

This publication has been prepared with the financial support from the United Nations Women’s Peace and Humanitarian Fund (WPHF), but the views and contents expressed herein do not necessarily represent the official endorsement or recognition of the United Nations.