First Ukrainian with Down Syndrome Graduates University
For the first time in Ukraine, a person with Down syndrome has graduated from university. Bohdan Kravchuk from the city of Lutsk received a bachelor's degree in history
“I’m not arrogant, I’m just happy that I graduated successfully. I had one C in philosophy, two or three Bs, mostly As,” Kravchuk said.
Kravchuk has been interested in history since childhood – all thanks to his grandfather.
“My grandfather told me about the Holodomor, about war, about his village – he told me a lot, especially about the Cossacks and Kyivan Rus. My grandfather instilled this love of history on me,” he said.
Kravchuk was born with Down syndrome. His mother Yevhenia Kinakh has always been at his side. She realized that, with the right conditions to develop his mental and physical skills, he would have a better chance of reaching his full potential and live a meaningful life. Securing Kravchuk’s place at university was one of Kinakh’s toughest challenges. Despite promising exam results in independent evaluations, higher educational institutions were in no hurry to accept him.
“It is necessary to work with these children – but the impact is different for everyone. There are different forms of Down syndrome,” Kinakh said.
Kravchuk is well-known at his university. Lecturer Svitlana Shulga said Kravchuk’s determination to succeed made him stand out from the other students.
“He prepared for classes well, passed exams and defended his bachelor’s thesis. I think this is very important for understanding what these people need,” Shulga said. “It is important that he integrated into society through these stages, which probably no-one else with Down syndrome went through.”
Kravchuk is thought to be the second person with Down Syndrome
in Europe to graduate from university – the first being Spanish actor Pablo Pineda. Now, like all graduates, Kravchuk is looking for work.
“My dream is to find a job, have and provide for a family and help Mum and Dad with the housework. I could work as a tour guide. I love the history of Ukraine and (could) lead excursions in ancient Lutsk,” Kravchuk said.
After the news spread nationwide of Kravchuk’s achievements at university, local officials quickly found him a job. But he’s keeping it secret – at least until he starts.