“Perspektiva” opens film school for people with disabilities
Russian social publicity about people with special needs used to have just one aim – to arouse pity, according to Georgiy Molodtsov, creative director of the Academy of Social Sciences’s Laboratory for Social Awareness. The regional social organization for special needs “Perspectiva” has proposed a different approach. There is no need to present people with special needs in a negative light – it is better to offer different solutions for them to facilitate their integration into society, Perspectiva’s Director, Denise Roza, stressed at a conference on improved efficiency in raising social awareness in Russia. The NGO does not restrict itself to commenting on such programmes, but also takes part in devising and planning them. As an example, it showed some clips with the message “Children should learn together”. In the first, primary school children adore their visually impaired classmate, tell her about their liking for her, and go home together. In the second, some primary schoolchildren, among whom one little girl is in a wheelchair, have a class photo taken, and are thrilled at being such a beautiful class. The third shows the crucial role played by the teacher in helping a child with special needs to cope. Mr Roza said that one of the key tasks is to show that such classes are a reality, so it is important to show Russian schoolchildren and not foreign schools, and to show ordinary people with special needs in ordinary situations, such as with other children in class or in the playground, and then attitudes will begin to change. People are beginning to understand that this is the norm.
To bring to people’s attention the difficulties faced by people with special needs in their everyday lives, and to show the active lives that such people in other countries already lead, a special international film festival was organised. Most of the films shown were accessible by people with special needs, said the Perspectiva resource centre’s head, Igor Kipchatov. There were subtitles for the hearing impaired, and a narrator for the sight impaired. In many countries subtitles are routinely used in films, but not so far in Russia. Mr Kipchatov said that last summer special seminars were held to discuss with young people with special needs the particular challenges they face. Ten were selected to work on public information films. The film school is a project of the NGO, as part of the charitable project on equal opportunities for all, which is led by Mr Molodtsov. Two of the films were shown at the meeting. One, made by E Bashirova was almost entirely filmed and edited by her. It shows a vivacious young girl, who is however clearly not well. She finds ways of coping with her situation and living actively, thus helping other people suffering from the same problem – multiple sclerosis. In fact Ms Bashirova is the heroine of the film. She said the idea came from the question – how to live with such a diagnosis? The answer depends not only on the sufferer, but also on the society in which he or she lives.