Social Projects

Employees of the Novosibirsk City Museum actively work to revive social tourism that will meet the spiritual and educational needs of the entire population.

We seek to give city residents the opportunity to see and learn about their native region, their country, and their history; to create accessible travel in Novosibirsk for spiritual and educational enrichment and stimulation.

Not all city residents can visit interesting places. That is why there is a need to develop special excursions.

The task of creating economically favorable conditions for work in the development and creation of public tours in the city still remains. Events that are currently being carried out and planned for the future are the first step towards the creation of new tourist programs and itineraries that are adapted to the population’s social needs.

This work will enable the elderly and those with limited opportunities to change their social situation for the better. It will help them feel that people think about them, remember them, and want to help them.

Further work in this direction could be a complete aesthetic gift for these people, and will, undoubtedly, have an educational flair.

Goal:

- The involvement of the elderly and disabled in the active life of civil society; the implementation of measures for the social adaptation of the given categories carried out via social and cultural rehabilitation

Objectives:

1) To attract elderly and disabled people from all areas of the town to take active participation in project activities;

2) To provide social, cultural and informational assistance;

3) To make Novosibirsk more physically accessible;

4) To improve the moral and emotional well-being of these groups of the population;

5) To provide the right conditions for collaborative activity between disabled people and non-disabled citizens.

Organized Events:

  • Visits to Veterans’ houses:
    • Meeting about “A. I. Pokryshkin — Hero of the Soviet Union”
    • Meeting about “The Attraction of the 50s”
    • Meeting about “The history of our city in photographs”
    • Film screening of musicals
    • Hosting master classes
    • Meeting of two generations: The 60s and 80s
  • Social excursions
    • Our Kolyvan
    • Novosibirsk- The Crossroads of Religions
    • Novosibirsk’s Fountains
    • Novosibirsk: Our Youth
    • The History of Novosibirsk’s Industry
  • Activities were developed for disabled children with impaired vision:
    • Excursion to the Opera House, followed by family-oriented performances
    • Excursion to the Museum named after Balandin
    • Excursion to a laboratory of construction materials (NGAKhA)
    • Excursion to the former malting factory
    • Houses in our city (becoming acquainted with the architecture of residential houses, home spaces, empty buildings)
    • Getting to know the Children’s Railway
    • Excursion to the toy factory
    • Eco-excursion to the zoo
    • Educational sessions at the zoo
    • Festival “Your Kilometer” (finding your way around an area)

Reviews

Volunteers from Berdsk and Novosibirsk led a three-day outing for blind children as part of the new project “Museum without Barriers.” Supervisor and guide Evgenia Vasilev, of the Novosibirsk City Museum, is the curator of this particular project. She previously met with volunteers, introduced them to the basic tasks, and explained the specifics of working with blind children.

“The main thing is that you must do this,” explained Evgenia Anatolevna, “to help the children experience through touch what I am saying — to give them the ability to feel the shape of an object, to realize the breadth of space, and to understand the value of certain things.”

It is extremely important, according to the curator, to understand from the beginning that these children are special. Accordingly, they need a unique approach.

“Like other children, it is best to hold hands with them during an outing,” Evgenia said, “closer contact may make them nervous. It is important to speak to them in a way that they imagine what is being discussed. Tactile experience and the creation of images: those are the basic parameters on which a volunteer should rely when working with blind children.”

Six to eight adolescents, from 10 to 17 years, are taking part in the project. Every volunteer will work with “his/her own” child. The project was designed for six months. The organizers wanted to work with dedicated volunteers. Elena Shumilova, a student at Novosibirsk University, is one of them.

“I saw the information in ‘VKontakte’ about how volunteers are needed to help children who were born blind, and I responded immediately,” said Lena. “For 365 days a year we live for our own sake. To devote three days to working with those who don’t see what we do — this is the normal act of a normal person.”

For Elena, participating in the project has become, as she says, “an experiment on myself.” For the young woman, it is interesting to find out what kind of experiences she gets from interacting with children who cannot see.

“I will try to become his eyes for this short time,” says the participant in the project. “Even if it’s only for three days. After that, everything will be decided, depending on how my volunteer program develops. This has become a test for my humanity.”

It is in the organizers’ plans to provide a similar excursion through tactile materials, to start to conduct audio-trips, and to assign a volunteer to each child for the future. For the teens, with whom the volunteers will work, it is very frightening to leave home alone. Therefore one of the basic goals of the event will be to make them comfortable with independence.

“Volunteers from Berdsk Became “Eyes” for Blind Children”

Volunteers from Berdsk and Novosibirsk spent three days with blind school children. They visited the Museum of Y. V. Kondratyuk and travelled along the left bank of the river in a bus. The volunteers were part of a project called “A Museum without Barriers”, which began March 27, 2013 in Novosibirsk.

The children and their new friends were accompanied by the organizers of “A Museum Without Barriers”, Stas Belov and Evgenia Vasileva. In Stas Belov’s opinion, it is not enough to simply instruct blind children how to find their way around.

“Something more is needed”, he says. “That’s why I became the project leader — to come up with fresher approaches. Tactical ways of behaving in one situation or another, spatial awareness of  the surroundings — these are the basis of our work”.

Blind children, as Stas Belov explained, should come to know the world through physical sensations, perception, and imagination.

“In the future we hope to make a website about orientation”, the organizer confided. “It’s a huge topic. The site will contain information about professions, the animal kingdom and much more. Also, we would like to run competitions, like “My Town”, where kids would compile audio recordings of what they think about the place where they live”.

Among the volunteers was Irina Golovko, a student at Novosibirsk Pedagogical Institute. She became “the eyes” of 17-year-old Roma Yatsyukov, who lost his sight at the age of nine.

“It was an emotional few days for me — Irina says full of feeling. “I desperately wanted the kids to enjoy everything”.

In the student’s opinion, all children are equally curious irrespective of how they were born. She remarks that she noticed this whilst working at a playground for blind and visually impaired children during the “Interra-2011” festival. It was her first experience of interacting with blind people.

“All the blind people that I know, irrespective of their age, are very talented, educated, versatile, active and independent individuals”, Irina Golovko continues, arguing that anyone can help a person with a walking stick get onto the bus they need. And the list of what blind people need our help with, in Irina’s opinion, is long.

Artem Parfenov, a student at the Novosibirsk Civil Service Academy, explains his wish to spend time with blind children as follows:

“When you help people, there is no rational explanation for this behavior and nor can there be. It’s much deeper than that… For me personally, these days have been straightforward interaction with normal people”.

For blind resident of Novosibirsk Roma Yatsukov, the oldest of all the participants in the project, such enterprises, in his words, are important and necessary.

“I really don’t like sitting around at home at all so I greatly enjoyed wandering around the museum and my home town with my new friends”, he says.

Roma has been collecting toy cars for about nine years, he’s undertaking a special course of study for visually impaired people on his computer and really enjoys being with people.

“My favorite thing to do is to chat to my friends on the phone, and I have lots of them”, the youngster adds. “My address book regularly fills up with new contacts”.

Having found out that a visit to the theatre, opera and ballet in Novosibirsk is planned for April as part of the project “Museum without Barriers”, and that there would be the opportunity to spend time in the orchestra pit, Roma has been very happy and has been looking forward to the day.

The volunteers, having made friends with the young collector, promise to go to Academy Town with him. Roma Yakutskov has only been to the House of Scientists there and he dreams of wandering round the streets and alleys of this picturesque region of Novosibirsk.

For the first three days the blind school children and their volunteers visited Novosibirsk Town Museum, the town’s first panel house, the Burginsky Malthouse and the Statue of Alexander Pokryshkin.

Meeting before the excursion

On the day of the excursion, I was assigned to 10-year-old Denis, the smallest boy in the group of blind children. We had already communicated earlier, but I did not know firsthand how active and lively he is. In previous excursions the volunteers and I had to literally remove him from a tree, up which he had climbed with lightning speed, so it was necessary to accompany him because in a moment he could escape. This time, however, Denis was very well-behaved and did not cause a scene in public.

I picked him up straight from his house where his mother, Olga, saw him off. He asked her, “Where are my boots?” and his mother answered, “Where you left them, that’s where!” A typical answer from all mothers, isn’t it? And indeed, in no time Denis found his boots right by the door, put on his jacket and hat, and we went to the bus stop.

We went to a stop the boy knows, and he himself described the houses that surrounded us. But as soon as we sat down in the bus, a heap of questions rained down: “We are we going?”, “What is interesting here?” “Do we have many more stops?”. It was very interesting to tell Denis some stories about the people in whose honor stops and streets are named in our city. But it was harder to describe the size of buildings, and the colors the passing cars. As it turned out, Denis has been blind since birth. But sometimes he can distinguish lights and shadows, some silhouettes. He feels when the sun comes out from the clouds, and the boy actually begins to squint.

Denis is surprisingly very sociable and cheerful. During the trip, he had time to talk about the bad girls at school and how they scream when you pull their braids. The boy studies at the Novosibirsk boarding school for visually impaired children. Sight restrictions do not interfere with with the lively child, who runs through the halls and inspires resentment in the teachers. He likes to draw attention to himself, even in negative ways. Before we had to get off the bus, Denis showed me with his fingers what size the crafts he’d made with clay were. The biggest, and his favorite figure, was a model house with a chimney and roof.

At the Novosibirsk Toy Factory

Not far from the toy factory, the project organizer of “Museum without Obstacles”, Evgeniya Vasileva, was already waiting for us with the other children and volunteers. The tour through a few offices of this privately-owned organization was led by the deputy director of the factory, Olga Mednis.

She first told us about the features of the business that the children could not see. And we could tell that it was as difficult for Olga Alekseevna to convey the information as it was for the blind children to understand it. It was very difficult for the children to pay attention exclusively to words. They needed touch what they were talking about and ask questions to clarify, but they could only listen. For the volunteers in this regard, it was easier. They had searched the establishment and counted how many large teddy bears were lying on the shelves.

However, once the volunteers suggested that the children first get the opportunity to experience the quality of the materials from which the toys were made, and only afterwards hear a lecture, communication with the excursion leader ran much more smoothly.Here the blind children, through touch, became acquainted with the materials that toys were made from (long-haired fur, plush, silk, and others; the toys are stuffed with holofiber).

The children then began to actively inspect the various toys of different materials, forms, and value. They touched the “English Bulldog” toy, specially made in England for the Olympics. They met Chi-Chi, the big, long-haired monkey, and with a sporty sable, standing on skis, who was designed for the city of Tyumen’s Victory Day. Each child had the opportunity to hug the soft stuffed heart with arms.

The children expressed the strongest emotions for the 2-meter teddy bears. Danil and Denis asked to put the bears on their necks so that, in their words, they could better judge the weight of the huge toy.

The excursion ended with trying on cute animal hats (foxes, goats, etc.). Even the blind project organizer, Stas Belov, put on one of the hats and asked for a picture of himself wearing it. The children went up to him, touched the hat, and tried to guess which animal it was.

After the excursion

Denis discussed his new impressions of the toys with me at length and did not want to go home. We walked a little, but it was not long before it was time to take the child back to his mother so that she would not worry.

We agreed to meet and stroll through Berezova grove next time, where Denis often enjoys spending time with his family. Once my friend was at home, I also had to return home to Berdsk. My legs at the end of the day feel like they could fall off, and I wanted terribly to sleep on the way home. But when I went without Denis, it was unusual to not pay attention to the cars flying by the house. It was also unnecessary to cautiously bypass people coming toward me and attempt to not overlook my little walking satellite next to me.

Volunteering: A Big Responsibility

Volunteering is a big responsibility, as I have learned from my own experience. It takes a lot of time and effort, but it gives back much more. Aleksei Zelenin feels the same way. He has been helping people for a long time, but is working with blind children for the first time.

“I have been volunteering for about three years in various fields: helping the elderly and WWII veterans, and also organizing city-wide events. I decided to work with the blind because I am very interested in them. It is a terrific experience, and I know how much they need support and help,” says Zelenin. “The blind are very nice to talk to, since they are generally open, talkative, and positive people! I think the trip to the toy factory was very productive because the vision-impaired children learned the toy-making process and were able to “see” with their own hands all of the most important instruments used in production. The boy named Roman, whom I accompanied, really liked this excursion!”

A visit to the opera theater

The Novosibirsk-based project “Museum without Barriers” has led excursions for blind schoolchildren and their volunteers from Berdsk and Novosibirsk twice before. Remember that the blind children first met their helpers March 27th at the Novosibirsk Museum. After exactly one month, on April 27th, there was another meeting near the main entrance of the Novosibirsk State Academy of Theater and Ballet.

The Exterior of the Opera

The Novosibirsk city museum guide, Lyubov Pisareva, met the children and their volunteers. She told them about the history of the opera building, which is the largest in the country. The children heard how the structure was built and what techniques were used in its reconstruction. For them, it was new to learn that the theater’s dome is unique (it is constructed to support the building without the help of pillars).

“Can you imagine that the average thickness of the roof is eight centimeters?” Lyubov Yurevna approaches the blind girl Liza and traces a line with her finger to show the equivalent of this distance. “And if you compare the dome with a chicken egg, the ratio of the thickness to the radius will be significantly less.”

The children raise their eyebrows in amazement and imagine how the dome could look.

“Now let’s count, how many columns does the opera theater have?” Lyubov Yurevna suggested. The kids, having taken their volunteers by the hand, began measuring the distances between columns with small steps and counted 20 columns and four semi-columns, which were attached to the same building.

A glass-fronted wooden playbill grabbed the attention of the blind schoolchildren in front of the entrance into the Novosibirsk Opera and Ballet Theater. They asked the escorts what was written there. Having learned details of the repertoire from April 3 through 29, they entered the building.

Inside the opera

An excursion around the building was conducted by the theater’s press-secretary Elena Medvedskaya. She brought a pair of pointe shoes –technical shoes worn by ballerinas and costume artists—so the children could become acquainted with them. They learned from Elena Vladimirovna that practically all of the clothes and shoes used in performances were made in this very theater, although sometimes, sketches are sent to Saint Petersburg and the costumes are made there.

The headgear was particularly interesting to the blind school children. They not only wanted to touch it but to try it on as well.

“Who do I look like?” asked one of the little boys, wearing the evil wizard’s mask from the ballet ‘Swan Lake.’ The children crowded around him and started touching the mask, covered in sequins and multicolored feathers. Finding something on the mask like a beak, the children shouted, “It’s a raven!”

Participants of the project examined the ticket hall and vestibule. For those who could see, one look was enough to take in the surroundings. But for the blind, touch is the only way to learn what the building holds. Door handles, wooden doors with stained glass inserts, columns inside the theater, tickets for the opera and ballet: the children from the special school felt all of these with their inquisitive fingers.

When the participants of ‘A Museum without Obstacles’ went down into the concert hall, they found themselves in the midst of a dress rehearsal for the opera ‘Iolanta.’ The children walked with the volunteers among the empty rows and tried to grasp the size of the auditorium. The volunteers described to the blind children what the statues looked like, as well as what kind of domes and chandeliers were there.

Those entering the opera house then went in pairs to the orchestra pit as it was being lowered below the stage. A few of the little guys were able to lay their tiny hands on the floor of the orchestra pit, which soon descended a few meters. It was important for them to feel the motion, as they could not see it.

At first there was no single melody or rhythm in the hall, since every instrument was practicing its own part. Those present heard only the chaos of a multitude of sounds produced by the various instruments. Only after the conductor’s entrance did the musicians stop the cacophony and begin to perform the piece in one rhythm and complete harmony.

The blind children heard the music of Tchaikovsky performed by the Novosibirsk Opera House Orchestra. The players followed along with the conductor, who was strictly controlling the performance.

The visit to the opera house and ballet in Novosibirsk left the children and their helpers feeling happy and contented.

Author Olesia Amineva, Journalist.

Original Article:
http://www.berdsk-online.ru/all-news/topnews/2799-nezryachie-deti-i-ih-volontery-iz-berdska-posetili-opernyj-teatr%D0%B2

Reviews

Volunteers from Berdsk and Novosibirsk led a three-day outing for blind children as part of the new project “Museum without Barriers.” Supervisor and guide Evgenia Vasilev, of the Novosibirsk City Museum, is the curator of this particular project. She previously met with volunteers, introduced them to the basic tasks, and explained the specifics of working with blind children.

The main thing is that you must do this,” explained Evgenia Anatolevna, “to help the children experience through touch what I am saying — to give them the ability to feel the shape of an object, to realize the breadth of space, and to understand the value of certain things.”

It is extremely important, according to the curator, to understand from the beginning that these children are special. Accordingly, they need a unique approach.

“Like other children, it is best to hold hands with them during an outing,” Evgenia said, “closer contact may make them nervous. It is important to speak to them in a way that they imagine what is being discussed. Tactile experience and the creation of images: those are the basic parameters on which a volunteer should rely when working with blind children.”

Six to eight adolescents, from 10 to 17 years, are taking part in the project. Every volunteer will work with “his/her own” child. The project was designed for six months. The organizers wanted to work with dedicated volunteers. Elena Shumilova, a student at Novosibirsk University, is one of them.

“I saw the information in ‘VKontakte’ about how volunteers are needed to help children who were born blind, and I responded immediately,” said Lena. “For 365 days a year we live for our own sake. To devote three days to working with those who don’t see what we do — this is the normal act of a normal person.”

For Elena, participating in the project has become, as she says, “an experiment on myself.” For the young woman, it is interesting to find out what kind of experiences she gets from interacting with children who cannot see.

“I will try to become his eyes for this short time,” says the participant in the project. “Even if it’s only for three days. After that, everything will be decided, depending on how my volunteer program develops. This has become a test for my humanity.”

It is in the organizers’ plans to provide a similar excursion through tactile materials, to start to conduct audio-trips, and to assign a volunteer to each child for the future. For the teens, with whom the volunteers will work, it is very frightening to leave home alone. Therefore one of the basic goals of the event will be to make them comfortable with independence.