Why no September Newsletter?
Owing to problems in Russia we were, for the first time in over ten years, unable to bring you the September Newsletter. Many apologies for this; we hope you will find this issue adequate compensation.
In May members and supporters received an urgent appeal for help. The Centre for Deaf Studies, which co-ordinates the activities of both School and Kindergarten, was given three days (!) notice to vacate its premises in Panferova Street. They were not alone; an entire Faculty was moved out in order to accommodate corporate tenants who could afford to pay the high rents demanded.
Anna Komarova managed to stave off the evil day for a time and eventually found a new home for the Centre, School and Kindergarten in School 65, which has played host to the Bilingual School since its inception in 1992. The Director Julia Tepaeva was very supportive and has given us an entire floor. This has advantages, in that all our activities are now under one, fairly spacious, roof. There is a downside; the area needs considerable refurbishment, including new doors, for which we have been quoted a price of 16000 roubles (almost 400 pounds). This is in addition to the 14000 roubles which the move itself cost us.
Members responded, as always, with great generosity. Within a week we had raised over 450 pounds, with the help of a donation of 300 from our sister charity Signs of Russia (www.signsofrussia.org.uk ). We also had several enquiries from potential volunteer painters, electricians etc. Many thanks to all, named and anonymous, who made offers of help.
Our financial year ended on 31 May, as did the School’s academic year. During the year we were able to sent 1427 pounds to support the School, plus equipment totalling roughly 70 pounds. The figure is slightly down (by about 100 pounds) on the previous financial year, although this should be offset by payment of an outstanding invoice by a well-known Deaf educational institution in the USA! A copy of our accounts is available on request.
Members have continued to support us with great generosity. In this financial year we have had individual donations from two members totalling nearly 600 pounds, and sponsorship worth nearly 200. We are most grateful for every gift, great or small. The School depends on your help for its continued existence, and is very grateful for it.
As a result of the above, we have a new address:
Ul. Saratovskaia 19, Moscow 109518. However, because of the unreliability of the Russian postal service, correspondence should be addressed to this office in the first instance.
New telephone number
Many Russian area codes have substituted a ‘4’ for the initial ‘0’. Thus Moscow, formerly 095, is now 495. Thus our contact number in Russia is now: +7 495 132 03 91
The New School Year
The new School Year, which began on September 1, coincided with celebrations to mark the 80th birthday of VOG (The All-Russian Federation of the Deaf. Three of our pupils – Sasha, Alen and Dima figure in the new videocourse produced by the Centre for Deaf Studies. Alen continues to win prizes for orienteering, Dima has now accumulated a grand total of 27 medals for swimming, while Andrei took third prize in a national athletics competition. Vanya is a soccer enthusiast and recently had a long discussion with the wife of the President of Chevron Oil (see next item) concerning the relative merits of David Beckham and Wayne Rooney (whose name comes out as Runi in Russian!).
Visit by Chevron Oil representatives
On 23 November two senior executives of Chevron Oil, accompanied by their wives, played host to staff and students of the School. Chevron Oil, who have supported the School from the very outset, have presented the School with a new videocamera.
A new girl among the boys
The six boys in Year 8 have now been joined by Arina Rassadina. Arina is fifteen years old and has had a difficult life. She was born in the small town of Kirov, in Kaluga Province, but was rejected by her alcoholic parents. For a time she was forced to live in a kennel with the family dog. She was then taken into care and found herself in a hearing orphanage and various other institutions. She now lives, at weekends, in an orphanage in Moscow, which has a group of Deaf children of various ages (our Fedya also lives there). From Monday to Friday Arina lives in School 65, where she has been for two years. School 65 found it difficult to place her in the right group and had misgivings about placing her with a group of boys who had been together for some ten years. However, with individual support and much hard work on Arina’s part, she has done well. There is still some leeway to make up, but class teacher Lena Silianova is very hopeful that she will do so.
In their Russian literature classes the children have been studying two Russian classics of the nineteenth century: Alexander Pushkin’s story “Metel’” (The Snowstorm) and Mikhail Lermontov’s poem “Song about Tsar Ivan Vasil’evich, the young oprichnik and the bold merchant Kalashnikov”. The poem, which at fourteen pages, is even longer than the title, concerns the days of Ivan the Terrible rather than Kalashnikov rifles. However, despite its length and complexity, it has proved s surprising ‘hit’ with the children.
The School works through the Western Christmas, but breaks up for New Year. The approach of the holidays was marked by the traditional “elka” (fir-tree) party, at which our Year 8 was joined by pupils from the other classes into which we have some input – Years 7 and Year 9. It will reassemble in mid-January. There are plans for a trip in the Spring to the ‘Golden Ring’ of ancient cities near Moscow. We hope to report on this and all other activities in our next number, due out in May 2007. If you have copy for this, please send it to the office by Friday May 18.
In the meantime, on behalf of all involved with the Moscow Bilingual Deaf School, we wish you a very merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.