Introducing Dimitry Lapa, a translator, a religious history expert, and a programmer. He has greatly helped Alexandra by consulting her for her article on British church history, and I’m trying to return the favour. Here is a summary based on his resume and our correspondence:
Education: Two degrees, one is mathematician-programmer, and another religious studies.
Native Russian, fluent professional English, some German.
Over 100 publications.
But he is out of work. He is blind.
It is Alexandra’s and mine idea to tell the world about him. Please read the text below that consists of fragments of his resume and correspondence with Alexandra. Just read and make a note there is such a person. Who is not asking money from anyone nor shouting around about his situation. He is just a well-qualified expert who wants to find a job to make a living. Perhaps one of you happens to be in a position to help, thus..
Dimitry Lapa, 29
1. John the Revelator Russian Orthodox Institute (August 2006 to June 2009), Faculty of Philosophy and Theology. Graduated Cum Laude with a degree in Religious Studies. During the study wrote three works on the ancient church in Britain.
2. Moscow City University of Psychology and Teaching (July 2003 to June 2008), Faculty of Information Technologies. Receieved qualifications of mathematician-programmer with specialization in “mathematical support and administration of information systems”. Graduating work: Guidance on the Problem of Four Colours for Students with Vision Problems.
From Dimitry’s letters:
“In 2009, at the age of 24, I graduated from the other, theological university. While a student there I got interested in the Western church history, especially of Britain and Ireland, although I fell in love with the country back in my school days.. I’ve first visited Britain at the age of 16 and have been regularly returning there ever since. I’ve seen many places and managed to penetrate into the atmosphere and life of the inner England that can’t be easily seen in London and other large cities popular with tourists but can be found in the provinces that make up most of the country. I dare say not for every traveller, not even for every Englishman Britain opens up as it did to me and my mom. It was as we’ve got into its soul..
From about those days I’ve been dreaming of finishing my education there in England, of getting my M.A. and Ph.D. there, and staying to work.. Here in Russia life of the disabled (and I’m nearly blind) is a total dead end. The disabled here rarely leave their homes. They cannot develop themselves, nor can they work nor see friends, take care of their personal lives, or travel. Far from everyone can use computer and the internet. Mostly these are big city dwellers who have computers with built-in speach recognition systems for the blind.
Starting from 2011 every year I would attempt entering the graduate shcool in one of British universities. But every time something would go wrong. Sometime I would fail to find a sponsor, or something else would be off. Last time I tried, the head of the program went on sabbathical for a year with no one appointed in his place. (And that happened after I got accepted and received congratulations!) That was a month ago, when I was trying to get into the M.A. programme at the University of Winchester.
At the same time, while in Russia, I looked for ways to apply myself here. I had no official job. Hardly anyone in this country wants to employ a visually impared person. But I have work experience starting from 2009, albeit unofficially.
- Starting February 2009 – Worked with the pravoslavie.ru portal translating articles from English into Russian, and news from Russian into English, and writing my own articles.
- 2008 – 2012 – worked for the Interfax-Religion agency translating news articles from English to Russian.
- From 2009 – working with the Russian Pilgrim Publishing House editing audio books on religious subjects.
- From 2011 – teaching English over Skype.
At the same time I kept trying to find official work for myself. But nothing turned out. I’ve spoken to all the funds and organizations concerned with the disabled in Moscow and the region but no one would take me despite my two higher educations, knowledge of English, and computer and Internet expertise. I’ve spoken to the All-Russia Society for the Blind and such. None of them provide any real help. I also spoke, on many occasions, to the church, and also received refusals. I even spoke to two MPs, one of whom was blind, and was also given no as an answer. I’ve contacted all I could but failed to find permanent work.
I can freely use the computer and Internet, Skype, scanner, or printer. I can translate, write, and use many computer programs. Because I’m nearly blind I don’t use my eyes in working on the computer. I use JAWS (Job Access with Speech) program to access the computer. This programme contains a module that recognizes text and other information on the monitor, and one other module that reproduced this information using speech synthecizers. One could say I communicate with the computer with fingers and ears, not fingers and eyes as do most people. The process does not usually adversely affect my speed. I can type faster than many who can see while web surfing in my case is a bit slower. Thare are things my programme will not read out loud or does that poorly, eg. graphics, drawings, some frames, or tables.
- A book Lives of Saints who Shined in the Land of Britain and Ireland, published by Surozh Eparchy, 2012. The first major (over 600 pages) publication on the subject in Russian.
- Over 100 articles and translations on the history of sainthood in the ancient Western church, published at www.pravoslavie.ru:
I’ve been dreaming of becoming a translator since my school days. I starting to teach myself translation after graduating from my second university. The reason I worked on translations and own articles about saints of the ancient British and Irish church because these saints became close and dear to me, making me want to share my knowledge with Russian readers. I wanted to explain to at least somebody that there was and is Orthodox faith in the West, and holy men, and things there are not as bleak as they are often thought to be by Russians. I use only ancient sources because no one can tell of them better than those who lived at the same time they did, who were in direct contact with them, or at least were second-order witnesses. All compilation of the late medieval period are either pure fantasies or contain not much than only grains of truth.
On Dimitry’s request I didn’t include in the above parts of his letters with stories of how it is to be blind in Russia. Some of the particulars can be found in the interview with Dimitry on www.pravoslavie.ru.
I would also like to mention Dimitry’s mother, who is also in need of a job. She is an economist. For most of her life she’s been helping Dimitry.
If you happen to know people who can help Dimitry find a job, please call their attention to this post. It would be totally swell if a job could be found abroad. Because, realistically speaking, there is no place for Dimitry in this country.
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