VRTC Disability Delegation to Voronezh

In November 2000, 9 delegates from Charlotte traveled to Voronezh as part of a joint Sister Cities exchange between Charlotte and Voronezh.  Charlotte delegates consisted of doctors, rehabilitation therapists and one disabled Charlotte resident who worked at Bank of America and was also a Charlotte Sister Cities volunteer and supporter along with two Charlotte Sister Cities staff members.  They all traveled to the VRTC (Voronezh Rehabilitation Training  Center) in Voronezh, Russia to share insights and provide discussions and demonstrations on how to easily adapt public facilities, private businesses and private homes by using normal everyday items in order to accommodate these spaces for individuals who are wheelchair bound, possess other physical disabilities, or are challenged with severe mobility limitations.  All Charlotte Sister Cities delegates stayed with home host families while in Voronezh and were treated to a day trip to Moscow, which included a special evening performance by the Moscow Circus.  The trip also consisted of a welcome reception, and a media press conference and dinner to discuss the details about the program.  Those present were local Voronezh officials and our main Sister Cities contact at the time Nicholai, who was the Foreign Affairs Officer in Voronezh. Peggy Wesp, former Charlotte Sister Cities Executive Director, worked with medical professionals and rehabilitation specialists in Charlotte prior to the trip to secure donations of wheelchairs and medical supplies that were transported over to Voronezh along with the delegation as a gift to the VRTC and their agency partners.  Doug Luther, disabled Charlotte resident and CSC volunteer and supporter, shared videos, and stories of how he overcame severe obstacles after being completely confined to his wheelchair when a tragic accident left him completely immobilized.  He worked at Bank of America and participated in wheelchair basketball, cycling and even snow and water skiing and showed participants how he adapted these sports to accommodate his own physical limitations.  He also showed them a video on how he adapted his personal van to accommodate his disability so that he could drive himself to and from work and be more independent overall.  While visiting the VRTC, we were also treated to Lena & Zhenya’s surprise wedding reception. These two young deaf individuals benefitted from VRTC and its services. They met there and fell in love and eventually got married.  VRTC also showed us the amazing hand carved wooden panels that served as a backdrop for their wedding reception. They were created by all the talented woodworking students at VRTC.  Lena & Zhenya also had the opportunity to visit Charlotte as part of the joint exchange.  They stayed with local host families and participated in programs and discussions within the deaf community in Charlotte, sharing their experiences in Voronezh with everyone.

Provided by Tracey Trimble, Charlotte Sister Cities


Disability Delegation Trip in Voronezh

Voronezh - Charlotte Relationship Timeline

September 2008 – Charlotte Symphony has a Russian Night and features Voronezh


Spring 2008 – Presentation about Voronezh at the Main Library (part of the International Partnerships series)


December 2007 – Four city officials from Voronezh travel to Charlotte for a weeklong leadership conferece.


November 6 – 18, 2007 - Natalia Lebedeva, a doll designer, visits for the Southern Christmas Show. She specializes in making traditional dolls as well as fluffy toys.


Winter 2006 - Elena Nikolaevna Zhemirya displays her handpainted and decorated bottles, plates, and figures at the Southern Christmas Show.


Winter 2005 - Svetlana Bogomolova returns to display painted dolls, angels and decorative plaques at the Southern Christmas Show. She makes them using a ceramic technique passed down through her family.


November 11 – 21, 2004 - Svetlana Bogomolova showcases salted dough figures at the Southern Christmas Show, including traditional Christmas angels.


September 2004 – A Charlotte group visits Voronezh.


November 13 – 23, 2003 - Ludmila Pashchenko returns to Charlotte for a second time to showcase her carvings.


November 13 – 24, 2002 - Liudmila Pashchenko represents the city at the Southern Christmas Show. She carves and paints traditional Russian birds.


March 11 – 28, 2002 – A group from Voronezh State University visits Charlotte and UNCC.


November 3 – 19, 2001 - Valeri Chalyka , a wood carver and art teacher, displays his work at the Southern Christmas show. He turns many of his carvings into wooden boxes.


September 15 – 29, 2001 – A delegation from Voronezh visits Charlotte as part of the domestic violence program.


May 19 – June 2, 2001 – A group from Charlotte presents a program on domestic violence to the Voronezh Police Department.


2000 – 2001 – Charlotte and Voronezh police collaborate on a domestic violence prevention training program


November 9 – 19, 2000 - Elena Gennadievna Matveyeva displays handmade wooden eggs and nesting dolls at the Southern Christmas Show.


September 1 – 15, 2000 – A group from Charlotte visits Voronezh, attending the “City Day” celebration as guests of Mayor Tsapin.


July 9 -30, 2000 - Dr. Oleg Valeryevich Diashev visits Charlotte to learn about methods of treatment for substance  abuse.


April 15 – 21, 2000 – A group visits Voronezh and tours the police department, hospital, and schools.


May 1999 – The Voronezh Fire Department visits Charlotte.


June 1998 – Charlotte Sister Cities director Peggy Wesp visits Voronezh.


March 7 – March 28, 1998 – A group of professionals and people with disabilities from Voronezh visits Charlotte to learn about new business technologies and resources.


November 1997 – A business delegation from Voronezh visits Charlotte.


May 1997 – Voronezh students visit Charlotte.


October 26 – November 16, 1996 – Voronezh municipal delegation visits Charlotte.


November 1995 – Visit from Slava Frolov, Deputy Head of the Foreign Relations Department.


September 1995 – Visit from Yevgeniy Shabunin.


1994 – 1995 – Charlotte and Voronezh participate in a musical student exchange.


June 14 – 25, 1994 – 14 students from Voronezh visit Charlotte, staying with host families.


September 4 – 16, 1992 – A Charlotte delegation, including the mayor, travels to Voronezh.


July 17 – 29, 1992 – A group of nine Charlotte students visits Voronezh, Moscow, and St. Petersburg.


1991- 1992 – Charlotte holds a warm clothing drive for the children of Voronezh, collecting almost 3,000 tons of clothing.


Fall 1991 – Charlotte Sister Cities director Peggy Wesp visits Voronezh.


June 26, 1991 – Mayor Sue Myrick signs an agreement with the mayor of Voronezh, making the Russian town and Charlotte sister cities.


April 8, 1991 – The Charlotte City Council approves a request to establish Voronezh, Russia as a sister city to Charlotte.