In coming 2023, one of the most important areas for the Faculty of Additional Professional Education of the SUAI will be social support for people with disabilities. In order to better understand what people with disabilities need, the faculty team led by the Dean, Alexandra M. Melnichenko, visited the unique interactive space 'The World by Touch'. This project is supported by the Social Fund for the visually impaired people, and the funds from the excursions are used to equip jobs for visually impaired people and purchase specialized equipment for teaching the children.
-The tour in the dark allowed me to immerse myself in the environment of people who do not have the ability to see, to learn their stories, their way of life. After all, a blind person can get information about the world from completely different sources, they use touch, smells, sounds, memory - and this is very important to take into account for the formation of the correct career guidance system and when developing training programs for such people.
After this incredible excursion, a round table was organized with the director and deputy director of the St. Petersburg State Budgetary Institution 'Accessible Environment' - Dmitry Gogov and Ekaterina Mekhnetsova, as well as with the founder and head of the 'The World by Touch' project - Anatoly Movshovich, where discussed the possibilities of cooperation between organizations and SUAI.
Excursions in the dark are not the only activities within this unique project. Visually impaired people are very talented and hardworking. Anatoly Movshovich said that his team has professional massage therapists, including the winner of the 2020 Visually Impaired Massage Therapist Championship. It is a well-known fact that hands replace eyes to visually impaired people, and therefore the sensitivity of their fingers increases to absolutely incredible limits, which makes them unique specialists in the field of massage.
During the discussions, several areas of possible cooperation were touched upon:
Identification of demand and implementation of relevant programs of additional professional education for further employment of visually impaired people.
Drawing attention of the SUAI students to the problems of people with disabilities.
Arrangement of a massage room on the SUAI site, where visually impaired massage therapists will have an opportunity to work.
SUAI thanks the organizers for this unique experience and happy to notice that there are projects that benefit citizens in need of social support!