The St Petersburg language center called “Languages without limits” has initiated a specialized training program for guides with hearing defects. Melon Fashion Group supported the project and partnered the initiative due to which deaf people and those with other hearing defects will be able to become professional guides in museums of St Petersburg.
This language center has been training people with special needs more than 5 years now. They were the first to introduce such unique program and won great support from the city museums and business community.

Selection of students was made in 2017. Candidates of different ages and professions were asked to write an essay explaining why they decided to become guides.14 of them were selected for the program.

Lectures and seminars take place every Saturday directly in halls of the State Hermitage and the Russian museum. They are conducted by art scholars working in these two museums and also in the museum of History of Religion. Besides studying the theory of art, the students learn to speak publicly and acquire skills of working with an audience.
The first graduates of the program will undergo the final evaluation in summer 2018. Upon graduation, the best students will be given a chance to get paid probation and support in further employment.

The program graduates are expected to conduct tours of the St Petersburg museums using the Russian sign language. Specialists working at Languages without Limits intend to broaden the scope of museums where people with limited hearing will be able to learn and then work as guides. In the new academic year, there will be also training in the international sign language to help foreign guests of the cultural capital.

The unique program is carried out owing to partnership support from Melon Fashion Group and other St Petersburg businesses as well as from the city administration.

Video of the program.

Sergei Krechetov, CEO of Languages without Limits (UBC):
“Availability in the city museums of guides and interpreters with hearing defects will make the world cultural heritage accessible and understandable for the deaf and people with hearing defects living here and guests of St Petersburg. For our main task is to organize comfortable space for people with special needs and help in their employment. Of course, the project itself and its realization would be impossible without help of state institutions and a number of socially oriented companies. Without such people who care nothing would have happened!”

Mikhail Urzhumtsev, president and CEO of Melon Fashion Group:
“Organizers of the program do a great job – they eliminate limitations for art lovers and set an inspiring positive example. This is an amazing project uniting a lot of people with glowing eyes and hearts! We are grateful for participation in such an important undertaking. Our team enjoyed collaboration with specialists of the Training Center, art scholars, but primarily, with charismatic and active students attracted by the program. We admire their striving for the beauty, wish to become better and change this world for the better. We wish future guides success at the exam and in their professional life!”