The All Russia Association of the Blind (VOS)
Key Facts and Figures
The All Russia Association of the Blind (VOS) was founded in 1925 and unites visually impaired citizens of the Russian Federation and their legitimate representatives. VOS was established to lobby the interests and protect the rights of visually impaired people, provide social support, rehabilitation, help them integrate into society and create equal opportunities for them.
VOS includes 75 regional branches, which incorporate 779 local organisations and unite over 214,000 of visually impaired people from all over the Russian Federation.
VOS is governed by the Central Board, which is a standing governing body elected at the Congress.
Alexander Neumyvakin has been the President of VOS and Chair of the VOS Central Board since 1986. He is a member of the Presidential Commission on People with Disabilities, a member of the Council on People with Disabilities led by the Chair of the Federation Council of the Russian Federation, first Vice-President of the European Blind Union and a board member of the World Blind Union.
The mission of VOS is:
- to participate in defining and implementing state policies with regards to people with disabilities;
- to assist and take part in vocational, social and educational rehabilitation and integration;
- to take part in professional rehabilitation, raise public awareness and promote culture and sports among visually impaired people.
To deliver the above mission goals, VOS has established the following social infrastructure:
- two rehabilitation centers:
- RehabilitationCenter for the Blind in Volokolamsk (the Moscow region) with two branches in Biysk (the Altai region) and in Zheleznogorsk (the Kursk region);
- Russian guide dog school in the village of Chyornoye, Balashikha, the Moscow region.
VOS rehabilitation centers are unique institutions which annually help 700 visually impaired people to learn new life, social and vocational skills.
- Eight cultural and sports rehabilitation centers in the cities of Moscow, Ekaterinburg (the Sverdlovsk region), Ioshkar-Ola (the Republic of Mariy El), Ryazan (the Republic of Tatarstan), Perm, Ulianovsk, Cheliabinsk and Yaroslavl.
- Sports rehabilitation and hotel facilities (Moscow).
- “Rehacomp”, the Institute for Vocational Rehabilitation and advanced training of VOS staff. Since 2001, the Institute has been delivering a comprehensive rehabilitation programme for the visually impaired using computer technologies as well as management training programme for the visually impaired young people.
- Two press centres: IPTK “Logosvos” and IPO “Chteniye” (“Reading”), which publish both Braille literature and audio books.
One of VOS’s most important tasks is providing health resort based medical treatment for the visually impaired.
VOS owns and manages three specialised health resorts which provide comprehensive health assessment and treatment for visually impaired people:
- “Solnechniy Bereg” (“The Sunny Shore”), a non-governmental health resort, located at 129 Lunacharskogo Str., Gelendzhik, Krasnodar region;
- “Mashuk”, a non-governmental health resort located at Lermontovskiy Str., Pyatigorsk, Stavropol region;
- “Sosny” (“The Pines”), a non-governmental health resort, located at 67 Oparinskaya Str., Bykovo, Ramenskiy district, Bykovo, Moscow region.
These resorts offer 456 rooms, which can accommodate up to 860 people.
Since 2009, the legislation of the Russian Federation introduced changes which mean that vouchers to VOS health resorts are issued by the regional branches of the Social Insurance Foundation and other authorised bodies across the Russian Federation.
In Moscow, vouchers to VOS health resorts are issued by the Social Protection Departments in respective catchment areas.
VOS has established 153 factories in 67 territorial entities of the Russian Federation. These factories employ about 15,000 people including 9,000 people with disabilities.
In recent years, the value of the products and services provided by these factories has exceeded 9 billion roubles. VOS is continuously investing in manufacturing, including new product development and creating extra jobs for people with disabilities.
Production and social facilities at the VOS factories meet the accessibility criteria for all disability groups and people with reduced mobility.
Overall, VOS factories and social institutions employ over 20,000 people.
The All Russia Association of the Blind takes an active part in the international support network for blind and is a member of such international organisations as:
- World Blind Union (WBU);
- European Blind Union (EBU);
- International Braille Chess Association (IBCA);
- International Congress of the War Blinded (IKK).
VOS President Alexander Neumyvakin has been the first EBU Vice President and WBU Executive Committee member for many years.
VOS public activities are covered by the following official mass media: “Nasha Zhizn” (“Our Life”) magazine, published both in Braille and in ink-print; “Dialogue”, an audio magazine which covers society, politics, literature and arts; VOS website; VOS online radio; and over 200 websites of VOS organisations, factories and institutions.
VOS has official branding, including an anthem, a flag and a logo. VOS Central Board honours its members and supporters with honorary titles, diplomas, certificates and other awards.
The standing governing body of the All Russia Association of the Blind, the Central Board, is located in Moscow, Russian Federation.
Bolshoi Cherkassky lane, 13, building 4, 109992, Moscow, Russia