When Sofya was born, her parents knew that she was different, and nothing about her life would be normal. However, they probably did not know that she would face outright discrimination from such an early age.
Like any other parent, all they want is for their daughter to have a normal, happy childhood.
The story of Sofya Zakharova and her parents first came to light in 2019 when she was only two years old. Sofya was born with a visibly deformed skull. Her fingers and toes are fused. Despite her physical appearance, she is quite an intelligent little girl.
When the family approached a nursery in Bashkortostan, Russia, to take care of their baby, their request was denied.
The owners of the school said that Sofya would scare other kids. They also informed them that they would accept their daughter only if she underwent plastic surgery. Despite their pleas, the school wouldn’t amend their policy.
Sofya’s family lives in Alatany village. The house in which she lives together with her parents and grandparents (maternal and paternal) has no water, no heat, and no stove. They could not afford plastic surgery for their toddler.
Local Charity and Leaders Intervene
Their story was picked up by a local charity, Rainbow Goodness. The charity tried all they could to have the school accept the sweet little girl, to no avail. Local politicians also tried to help out, but the institution wouldn’t barge.
Every cloud has a silver lining, though. As the charity worked to get Sofya accepted in the nursery, they also worked on upgrading the family’s living conditions.
With the help of local leaders, Sofya’s family was relocated to a house with the basic amenities they needed.
Radiy Khabirov, Bashkortostan’s head of Republic, noted that it was indeed unfair, and the family’s rights had been violated. He appreciated the efforts of Rainbow Goodness charity in trying to right the wrong and their role in the relocation of the family. He promised that the appropriate legal assessment would be made in regard to the situation.
Russia’s Anti Discriminatory Laws
At the moment, Russia doesn’t have any anti-discriminatory laws in place. However, local leaders are working on laws that will ensure that such situations can be solved legally.