With the aim of honoring the International Day of Persons with Disabilities, on 3rd of December, we organized a particularly interesting online meeting between our beneficiaries and the Ambassador of EXELIXI ZOIS and World Champion of PWD Open Water Swimming, Mr. Christos Koromilas. The purpose of the meeting was to make children more familiar with the picture and the idea of disability, and understand how they should behave towards people living with a form of disability.
Dear Mr. Koromilas first wanted to explain to the beneficiaries, in a simplistic way and using examples of, what disability means. He referred to practical issues, with which he has been confronted and through personal experiences, described how much his daily life has changed in the recent years, since he lost his eye-sight. He recounted to the children uncomfortable situations he has experienced and gave them practical advice in order to know how they should approach people with special needs. “Kindness and tenderness are of major importance”, he stressed.
At the same time, he confided to the beneficiaries that the disease led him to a different way of thinking and a positive meaning and attitude of life, after learning to appreciate and love more, to accept, but also to attach less importance to issues of everyday life. He confessed that he now feels a better person, with more awareness and more essential priorities.
The meeting developed into an intensely interactive discussion, since children raised so many questions. When one of the beneficiaries asked him how he felt when he lost his eye-sight, he shared the fear and despair he felt at first, but also the power he gained from within and from his surroundings in order to get back on his feet.
Concluding the meeting, when asked what advice he would give himself if he cast his mind back, he smiled to all the children and replied that the lessons he took were many, but he has come to the following conclusions:
"Learn to love.
Don't be angry.
Don't be afraid.
Don't feel guilty.
The President of EXELIXI ZOIS Mrs. Kalantoni, who participated throughout the conversation, added at that point: "Learn to forgive yourself and others! It's very important".
The participation of the children from all three Institutions was touching and the action was completed with great success, as the children "hugged" Mr. Koromilas and thanked him for his great advice. Educating the new generation to accept and assist people who merit special help is one of our principles and an optimistic message for the future, which concerns all of us. The children unanimously agreed that it is not enough to show our respect just today, but daily, through simple acts of love.