M. N. Adamov Memorial Fund
In memoriam: Svetlana Adamova Sussman, 1960-2013
We are the only international direct assistance in the U.S. for blind
students and their teachers in Russia.
We are now in our 8th year of operation-->>
We have directly helped about 1000 blind and visually impaired people in cities across Russia: St. Petersburg (our home base), Volokolamsk, Essentuki, Pskov, Novosibirsk, Yaroslavl, Moscow, and Ulan Ude.
We put folding white canes, digital voice recorders, used computers (69 so far), talking watches, Braille books, musical instruments, and educational materials directly into the hands of blind people. Everything is hand-carried and personally delivered. Nothing has been lost or stolen.
We pay for Internet connection. We put people in touch with each other.
1600 people who are blind or have low vision are registered at the Novosibirsk Special Library for the Blind and Visually Impaired.
13,000 are registered at the St. Petersburg Library for the Blind.
May 2012--14 white canes and 10 recorders hand-carried to St. Petersburg-->>Harris to Richard to Valya to Vera and Nina
August 2012--25 Olympus voice recorders for students at Medical College-->>Harris to Richard to Vera
December 2012--Canes, tips and mp3 players to Moscow-->Svetlana to Andrey to Tanka to Leonid
February 2013--2 laptop computers to blind students
"I'm Julia. I finished Novosibirsk State University two years ago. I'm a clinical psychologist. I work in the special library for the blind. Also I work as a telephone consultant for children and their parents. I began to use a white cane about five years ago. Before it was difficult for me to go somewhere. I had to ask my friends to accompany me. After I learnt to use a cane a new world opened for me. Now I use my cane every day. I can go to work, to the shops, to visit my friends and even walk by myself. But the roads in our country are in a very bad condition that's why canes often break. Sometimes people can break your cane and don't even stop to help. That's why it's necessary to have several canes. I thank Harris and Svetlana for the cane. It's a very necessary and useful present."
"When we get a white cane from you it's like receiving a pair of eyes"--Denis, St. Petersburg, April, 2011
--a folding white graphite cane costs us $30.00
--a reconditioned Olympus digital voice recorder costs us $30.00
We need your help:
51 Craigie Street/Somerville MA 02143 USA
Bay State Council of the Blind's Outstanding Service Award, 2009
Why don't you get these simple things from your own city/country/government?
--it can take up to a year to get a cane from Social Services
--first we have to get a medical statement that we are blind--or that we are still blind from the last time we were examined
--the canes we get are all the same length, but some of us are short and some of us are tall
--the canes we get are easily damaged
--if a cane breaks, we have to wait two years to get a replacement
--it is a demeaning process to keep demonstrating that we are blind
--we often have to go to another city--without a cane, and therefore accompanied by someone--to ask for a cane
--VOS in Moscow has cut back on services to cities across Russia
--the canes we get from you are better quality than the canes we have tried from other countries
--you don't make us feel bad; you just give us a cane
--we can get canes from you in Somerville, Massachusetts faster than from our own city administration
--we can buy a similar cane online for $100--that is very expensive for us
The Constitution of the Russian Federation (Federal Law on Education dated 10 July 1992) states that every one in Russia has equal rights and equal access to education.
Moscow City University of Psychology and Education is focusing on providing classes for people who are blind or have other sight problems. It has purchased audio and Braille textbooks and computers with vocal capabilities to help them.
"Our goal is to make students with disabilities forget about their health problems," says Vladimir Sokolov, a math professor and the head of the university's program for visually impaired students. "We devote our unique technological systems to helping students with limited sight."
Mr. Sokolov, who has been blind since birth, says he feels personally responsible for the 73 students with vision problems who are studying at the university.…
Perhaps the university undergoing the biggest change is the Moscow State Social Humanitarian Institute. Historically, it specialized in teaching students who were confined to wheelchairs or with other mobility problems. But five years ago, it changed its name from Moscow Institute for Students With Disabilities—a name many of its students had objected to—and began accepting applicants without physical disabilities.…
But despite such success and the new plans by the government, Alexander Stanevsky, the center's director, says Russia has a long way go before the disabled population has full access to universities.
"I have no doubt that Russia's integrated higher-education system is a leader among most of the European countries," he says. But "if you ask me whether we still have problems with education for students with disabilities, I will tell you yes, we do—thousands."
Russia, April 2012--
Distrust/cynicism—check the popular anecdotes
No tradition of volunteering
Historical, cultural and institutional bias against invalids
No culture of philanthropy
Few local self-help/support groups
No associations, networks or movements to assist disabled
No community assistance for people with disabilities
Civil society is evolving very slowly & sporadically
Services to people with disabilities are down from Soviet times
Government officials are hostile to outside assistance, NGOs
People outside Moscow get less help
Health care is 30-40 years behind Canada, France, Israel (Israel gets some 30,000 medical tourists a year, mostly from Russia/2010)
No non-profit sector
No charitable-giving provision in tax law
No accountability/transparency in legislative process
Electoral system is compromised
More than 300 journalists killed since 1992
Reformers/dissidents threatened, jailed
No checks-and-balances political system
Pension for blind person $200-$350/month
Postal mail not reliable or secure
Internet connection not dependable