Write to us
Usher Forum
P.O. Box 108
107045 Moscow, Russia

(7-095) 921-80-55


Guardianship for Usher and Deafblind People "Usher Forum" is a charity. It was founded on February, 14, 1998.

Usher Forum serves Usher and deafblind people in Moscow and other Russian regions. We are not a membership charity. If a person has sight and hearing problems he or she can contact us, tell us about the problems and Usher Forum will provide that person with all the necessary information.

Our programmes and projects:
  • Communication club - we create conditions for communication between deafblind people and their family and friends
  • Leisure - we organise parties and excursions for families with deafblind persons
  • Learning is the Light - we organise seminars and courses for parents; teachers and students on deafblind issues
  • My Right - we hold round-table discussions and training seminars on the problems of human rights and rights disabled people
  • Humanitarian Aid - with the help of other charities we provide deafblind people and their families with everything necessary
  • We publish a News -letter "Usher Forum" about the problems of Usher and deafblind people
  • Recourse centre - we provide Usher and deafblind people and their families with the information they need
Out and about in Russia…
is it just leisure?

     From the moment that Usher Forum was founded we decided member. Our organisation is now nearly 5 years old and we are trying to develop our leisure programme.
     For some deafblind people the leisure programme a return to the time of having good vision and hearing.

    The leisure programme includes three strands of work:
  • communication club
    This is held once or twice a month and is open to every deafblind person or family member. Moreover, any of fhem can invite friends or anybody fhey wish to participate in the meeting.
  • parties
    Traditionally (we already gave our traditions!) we celebrate birthdays and hold New Year and Spring parties with group competitions, quizzes and real gun.
  • excursions
    I will talk about our excursions in detail.

     Every excursions has several targets to be accomplished. I will point out some of them. The one on the very surface is visiting an interesting place.
     Being lonely, having mobility problems or being too busy in every-day life (in the case of family-members) creates great problems when truing to visit the many historical and cultural centres and museums situated in Moscow and the region.
     Deafblind people have difficulties with communication, special guidanse and interpretation (we do not have any interpretation services for deafblind people in Russia at the moment). So, voluntary guide-interpreters help people to visit these interesting places.
     Another is that a visit represents a real event in their life. This is what we really want to present to all the participants of our excursions. Most deafblind people and their family members share with us their strong concerns that they don't have exciting events in their monotonous lives.
     Both deafblind people and their family members feel they have a lack of stories to share with their friends. This leads to the narrowing of the communication circles around a deafblind person and around families who have deafblind members. So, attending a real event provides a good opportunity to build content for future conversations with peers and colleagues.
     The main participants of our excursions are adults with acquired deafblindness. They used to live much more active lives and had more opportunity for free time. Deafblindness practically closes that door to culture and this is not only because of their deteriorating sight and/or hearing. The financial situation within such a family usually becomes very difficult in our country and it is hard for them to afford to go anywhere. The aim of the leisure programme is to return them to a normal way of life (in a way). Many people on Saturdays and Sundays. We do THE SAME as everybody else does.

     The deafblind people that we asked stressed that our excursions gave them opportunity to continue learning:
     "I like going with you. I like learning new things"
(Elena S.)
     "I am fond of reading Russian authors. If would be good to visit museums of Russian writers"
(Julia L.)
     "When I was a school-girl I hated going to museums. I have mobility problems but nobody wanted to wait for me and I needed more time to see everything. Every time I went I got list. I like to go with Usher Forum because I am not afraid of getting lost with you and you give me enough time for everything"
(Elena V.)
     For some deafblind people these leisure programme tours became a return to the time of having good vision and hearing. For most of them it wasn't a painful meeting with the past at all.
"Though I visited here when I was younger it was a pleasure to come back to a place that I liked to visit when I was young and beautiful"
(Nataly K.)

     For the families of deafblind people we have some other targets. Firstly we offer them the possibility of meeting different deafblind people and seeing that it is possible to survive in such a situation; and secondly that there are different methods of communication that can be used with deafblind people.
     Within the Leisure Programme it is quite common to find that when a deafblind mother cannot cone with us, her sighted and hearing daughter and her husband will come with us instead. Sighed and hearing children of deafblind people often participate; mothers and grandmothers, their friends and relatives - we all know each other! The chance of an excursions provides a comfortable opportunity to get included in the group or to stay outside of the group but keep an eye on it. In out view, encouraging a mixture of different people creates a positive basis for accepting problems.
     These excursions mean that parents get the rare opportunity to have a real rest, that very break which they dream about constantly. On a few occasions during a recent trip, mothers were able to absolutely relax. One them smiled and said: "I don't even know where G. is now! I only know that I cannot be worried about him here - he is not alone here. He is safe" (Ella A.). Another mother was siting alone on board the ship watching the passing trees on the other river bank. "Are you not feeling lonely?" I asked. "No, thank you. I am EWSTING!" (Lina H.)
     Finally I want to tell you about our final trip of the year. Traditionally we close the season with some faraway tour. This year we went to the New Jerusalem which is a historical and cultural centre 75 km to the West of Moscow. A 17th century monastery was creates as a copy of Jerusalem so that Russian Christians could visit the very important religious places - in Russia. When we visited it was the first day of summer and the weather was bright and happy. There were many new participants in the group. Victoria has Usher syndrome, type 2. The family found us in February, but Victoria didn't want to come to the leisure club or to our parties. However, this time Victoria, her mother and aunt came with us. We were happy. Galina G. - Victoria's mother - said to us: "My daughter has stayed at home for four years. She didn't want to go anywhere. Here she saw for the first time that a person with Usher syndrome could meet other people and continue learning new thing about the world".
     "I like going with you. I like learning new things"