about mbdsa

mbdsa: Moscow Bilingual Deaf School Association

mbdsa was started by Michael Pursglove in 1994. The objective of mbdsa is to support the bilingual school for Deaf children in Moscow. 

The organisation is based in UK but is in regular contact with partners in Moscow. Michael Pursglove himself is a Russian speaker; he and his team can deal with enquiries in English; Russian; Belarusian; Ukrainian; French; German; Spanish; Italian and Dutch. 

The bilingual Deaf school is the only Deaf school in Russia where Sign Language has equal status with the written/spoken language. Independent of the state system, the school has been supported by mbdsa since its foundation.

The bilingual school for Deaf children is part of the Moscow Centre for Deaf Studies and Bilingual Education. This unique and independent Centre was founded in 1999.



The Centre for Deaf Studies and Bilingual Education has an informative website: http://vk.com/deafsign. In Russian only!
The The Zaitseva Deaf Centre: http://deafsign.ulcraft.com/


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Mick Barber (1935-2017)

It is our sad duty to report that one of mbdsa's staunchest supporters and most generous benefactors died on  20 October 2017 at the age of 82. Mick's links with Russian Deaf people go back to the 1970s and when the Moscow Bilingual Deaf School opened in 1992, and the mbdsa support group was formed in 1994, Mick immediately pledged his support, both moral and financial. Over the years his donations have ensured that both the School and, latterly, the Zaitseva Centre for Deaf Studies and Deaf Education have been able to realise many of their objectives. Mick, and his wife Carol, also gave practical support when a group of Deaf specialists visited BDA HQ in Carlisle. One of the party, the late Galina Zaitseva, expressed a wish to visit Scotland, which she had read about but never seen. Mick and Carol duly took the party on a sightseeing trip over the border to Gretna and beyond.

The Cumbria Deaf Association have posted an obituary of Mick at http://www.cumbriadeaf.org.uk/obituaries/john-michael-barber-mick/

The Mick Barber Bequest

Although Mick, sadly, is no longer with us, his legacy remains. In his will, he left a generous sum to mbdsa. We felt it would be best spent on a project, or projects, which benefit, directly or indirectly, Russian Deaf children. If you have any such project in mind or know anyone who has, please email michaelpursglove@gmail.com. At this stage, a brief outline will suffice.

Click here for the July 2018 News update

  • Zaitseva Centre
    Deaf students training to be RSL teachers at the Zaitseva Centre
  • Tanya Davidenko
    An RSL exam in progress at the Zaitseva Centre. The signer is Tanya Davidenko. Netta Chausyan and Alexander (Sanya) Koryakin are the external examiners.
  • International Deaf Day
    Anna Komarova, director of the Zaitseva Deaf Centre, demonstrating fingerspelling in Sokolniki Park, Moscow, as part of the celebrations for International Deaf Day (24 September 2013)
  • Dasha Semyonova
    Dasha Semyonova, a graduate of the Bilingual School, taking an RSL class at the Zaitseva Centre