Kostroma is a Golden Ring city on the banks of the Volga River, about a 5 hour drive north and east of Moscow.
I could tell you about Kostroma’s history in relation to the Romanov dynasty or about the architecture, or about how it has become one of my favorite Russian cities to visit for a weekend.
But what perhaps came as the biggest surprise in Kostroma was when I ran into a group of super-positive parents.
One of the questions that people often ask me when coming to Russia for the first time is “why don’t we see any handicapped people?”. Perhaps there are several reasons for this. For example, Moscow has made great strides in becoming handicap-accessible, but there is certainly more work to do both in the capital and around the nation.
These parents in Kostroma have special needs children, mostly with Down syndrome. And they have taken an incredibly proactive approach with their group called “We Are Different”.
I asked them why “We Are Different” and they answered “Well, we all are different, every one of us, so let’s celebrate that rather than trying to prove that we are all the same”.
Good point. And with that, the “We Are Different” movement in Kostroma has been creating a whole series of activities both for these beautiful children and for the parents.
If you check out their group on Russian social media, you will see that they are going on river boat cruises together on the Volga, organizing fun runs, learning to do crafts together, and much more. I ran into them after they had just completed a makeup workshop for the moms. Check out my interview with Elena and Natalya:
They are producing linen tablecloths (a regional specialty), and the dolls that I showed in the video in order to finance the activities for the children.
If you agree that this is a fantastic initiative, please let me know if you would like to order some dolls or tablecloths and I will help you get into contact with them. And please share this post with your friends.
Thank you! Let’s spread the positivity of the “We Are Different” parents of Kostroma.