Week 1 highlights included learning the safety instructions for the center and the rules for working with the non-sighted rehabilitants. The students were given a tour of the center buildings and introduced to a new program developed for the rehabilitants entitled “The Speaking City” (“Говорящий город”).
This new program helps the non-sighted use public transportation, provides special devices that “see” the subway halls, entrances and exists, the numbers and routes of “above ground” transportation (which includes buses, trams and trolleys). The rehabilitants take a six-week training course at the center (2 weeks of theory and 4 weeks of practical training in the city).
Our students were included immediately in the theoretical training of this new program. They also were involved (as in past years) with planting flowers at the center. This is very important since it is too cold to do any planting until May.
Week 2 highlights include attending Braille class, working in organization of the center archives, and the continuation of center-based needs (flowers, window screens). They also were able to work in the storage areas and organize and take stock of sheets and linens at the center.
Week 3 was mainly devoted to working with archival documents, filing them appropriately and putting together the folders needed for organization. They also worked on developing a catalogue of these documents.
Week 4 was really exciting for the students because the focus was on working directly with the rehabilitants at the center, including the practical classes in town and learning how to use the technical equipment mentioned above for location orientation for the non-sighted. They worked with the rehabilitants in the the subway, accompanied them from the metro to a wonderful facility for entertainment for persons with disabilities. The students spent lots of time working directly with the rehabilitants, talking with them and getting to know them. The rest of the week was spent deepening the interpersonal contact between our students and the rehabilitants and the center and rehabilitants expressed their deep appreciation for the opportunity to be able to spend time with our students.
Looking forward, there is going to be a special event on June 18th. Anna, Megan and Ksenia are going to give a set of classes on English language to anyone interested. So far, the response has been very robust and lots of people from the center have signed up for the event.