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Portrait. A Hero of Our Time

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Tatyana.
Tatyana is the most independent person with Down syndrome living in Svetlana. She took care of her mother and planned her funeral, and can handle life’s most difficult tasks.
Minya and Tanya.
Tanya consoles Minya as he recalls the death of his mother.
Minya and Tanya after Bible study.
Minya and Tanya after Bible study. Svetlana residents get dressed up and spend time together discussing a chapter from the Bible, and sharing their impressions of the week.
Tanya.
Tanya washes the dishes after baking bread together with other residents of Svetlana.
Tanya and Minya.
Tanya and Minya dance at a birthday party.
Minya.
Minya hugs Natasha, one of his best friends. The couple call her their sister.
Minya and Tanya kissing in their room.
They speak about love every day. They wear rings and call each other husband and wife. They dream about having a wedding.
Minya and Tanya’s hands.
Play rehears.
Minya as the King and Tanya as the Rose during a rehearsal of the play The Little Prince.
Chapel.
Each Sunday, Svetlana residents go for a walk and often visit this chapel.
Tanya and Minya before bed.
Minya and Tanya share a room.
Minya.
Minya has lived in Svetlana for almost 20 years. His beloved mother recently passed away. He likes to work and calls himself the director of the village.

This is an intimate story about the love of an elderly couple with Down syndrome in the unique social village of Svetlana, which is home to people with various mental and physical disorders, as well as their mentors and volunteers. It is not an asylum or a clinic. Every resident is valued as a person, and everyone works for the common good. Minya and Tatyana met each other in this village and fell in love in 2015. They are over 50 years old. I witnessed this couple get to know each other and can see how happy they have been ever since. They take care of each other, spend their free time together and worry about each other’s health. They cherish every minute of their time together. Love for them is not something ordinary, but a rare stroke of luck. Minya and Tatyana work as bakers, and also help with cooking and cleaning. They also act in plays and paint. Many believe that people with Down syndrome are incapable of love, but it is not true. Love knows no bounds.

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