Who are "Mobile students"?
In Russia, it is hard for people on wheelchairs to integrate into society: because there is no interaction between them and the rest of society during childhood and the student years, they feel awkward in the company of each other later in life.
As a result, they are afraid to attend daytime educational programmes, choosing instead specialized universities and remote courses, which often loose in education quality in comparison to the TOP universities. This leads to the problem of Russian companies, which encourage people with disabilities to apply for jobs, but are not able to find qualified and willing candidates.
They need to be inspired to attend education programmes in the best universities and later to apply for jobs in the top companies. At the same time the general society needs to get used to people on wheelchairs, and not think of interaction with them as charity or social responsibility.
We believe that targeting the student community by creating integrative events, where they would interact with people on wheelchairs in an informal environment will foster the solving of that problem.
What is the social problem?
MOST is an initiative targeted at creating friendly environment and accessible facilities in the sphere of higher education for people with restricted mobility.
We organize educational, entertaining and sports events encouraging students to interact freely with successful, interesting and inspiring people with disabilities. Also, we work on attracting people on wheelchairs to attend daytime educational programmes by educating the residents of rehabilitation centers on their possibilities.
The range of our activities can be summarized as:
Expert support in
with limited mobility
How are our events different?
MOST organizes events, where students could organically interact with successful and interesting people, who just happen to be on wheelchairs. We «embed wheelchairs» into student life: beauty queens, politicians and world champions in sports are invited by us to host educational, entertainment and sportive events.
Our principle is never to aware the student participants that the guest speaker or the sports team they are about to see will be moving on wheelchairs. These are not social responsibility events, but are just fun events. The other innovative approach is the fully integrative nature of the events: e.g., the students are encouraged to try on the wheelchairs and compete against world champions of wheelchair rugby or Foosball. Races and games including wheelchairs help to fight the negative associations people have with wheelchairs.
Development of the market of daytime education for people with restricted mobility.
Under our efforts ramps and other infrastructure elements at the cost of $10k was installed by RANEPA.
We increased the awareness among people with disabilities about the options for daytime education by printing out and handing informational brochures at rehabilitation centers across Moscow.
About 60 000 people learned about our events from social media (648+ reposts, 956+ likes), press (3 TV reports from events) and posters by that increasing general awareness of the possibilities for people with disabilities to study in TOP universities.
The increase in volunteers was 30% after every conducted event. Each next event brought more participants and viewers.
Both national and international recognition of the concept behind our events.
Our partners and sponsors:
The accomplishments of MOST were recognized by the Russian Governmental Agency of Strategic initiatives, which awarded us for “Best social impact”.
MOST’s “Don’t be afraid of the wheelchair!” campaign got the team to the semi-finales of the Social resolution project competition, and was presented in Boston, US, at the Harvard National Model UN.
The MOST initiative received the highest honors from the CEEMAN association granting me, its founder, the Champion award for responsible management education.
MOST in media
News in Russian media:
Lately, we have been receiving many requests to share our experience in MOST with others.
If you wish to contact us, or, in particular – Anna Dragina, you are welcome to write to Vitaliy Shakirov via Facebook using the link next to his photo.