Name Surname: Baiba Baikovska
Sector: Non-governmental or Third sector
Position: PhD student, an active participant in organization Wings for Wheels
I have graduated Rigas Stradins University and have obtained bachelor’s degree in “International Relations”, master’s degree in “Communication and Media” and now I’m continuing my studies in order to get a PhD in programme “Communication’s Culture and Multimedia”. My aim is to develop a dissertation on Construction of Disability within Political Discourse in Latvia. With my dissertation, I want to raise a discussion and possibly create a change for people with disability here in Latvia. During my bachelor’s studies, I went abroad to study in Oslo, Norway. After obtaining my master’s degree, for 5 years I worked in educational organization based on Christian beliefs called “Agape Latvija” www.agape.lv. I worked with university students by helping them to improve intellectually, mentally, emotionally and intellectually. This gave me huge experience in the field of mentoring and coaching, which have become very close to me – I love to see people improving, to set goals and achieve them. Now, apart from my studies, I work in organization “Wings for Wheels” www.w4w.lv in order to help people with physical disabilities. You can learn more about my story here: https://mystory.me/story/baiba-baikovska/.
In order to get where I am now, I had to face stereotypes about people with disabilities, it also left an impact on my own identity, motivation and goals. And even though I have amazing parents, I also had to overcome this overprotectiveness coming from them, in order to start living independently. Christianity were one of the things which helped me the most in overcoming these obstacles – it helped me to find a solid ground on which I could restore my identity which further allowed me to get where I am now. In 5 years when I worked in organization Agape Latvija, I was a mentor and a coach for many students who wanted to improve emotionally and intellectually. I also meet with my coach on a regular basis and during these meetings new goals are set. I’ve also finished ‘Agape Europe’ coaching training. I apply this knowledge in my study process, working with students and initiative ‘Wings for Wheels’. Also, possibilities and opportunities for people with disability, for example, support for studies, help coming from the state, actual experience and working with students, allowed me to see that despite of my disability, all this is possible, it also gave me motivation and possibility to act. However, stereotypes about people with disabilities, as well as flaws in disability politics in Latvia created threats which had influence on my activity.
I have the ability to easily connect with unfamiliar or little-known people. I am able to accumulate large amount of information, I have the confidence – I find really important to know what I am doing, why am I doing it and with what cause I am doing it. I am also good at motivating people and uniting them in one team. I consider myself an optimistic, open-minded and creative person.
To dare!Don’t be afraid to look for a support, for example, a mentor or a coach. All these years I have had a mentor or a coach and it’s been a huge help for me to go forward. Support for women with disabilities is one of the things which still needs to be improved, similarly - there are flaws, for example, connected with tax policy and entrepreneurship, which need to be improved in order to motivate people to start an entrepreneurship.