​natalia vodianova speaks out for the rights of disabled people

The cruel treatment of her sister, who has autism and cerebral palsy, sparked the statement.

by Charlotte Gush
16 August 2015, 12:01pm

Russian supermodel Natalia Vodianova has taken to Facebook to speak out for the rights of people with disabilities, after her sister Oksana suffered appalling discrimination at a cafe in their hometown Nizhny Novgorod, and her mum was arrested (but not charged) after trying to get an explanation for what had happened.

"Yesterday, when my mother worked, the nurse went for a walk with my sister Oksana," Vodianova says in a Facebook post. "[Oksana] can walk for several hours, sometimes even 6 hours, and usually mum and the nurse stop at a cafe to rest in the shade after a long walk, with a cup of tea (Oksana does not drink water or juice)," she explains. When Oksana and her nurse arrived in a cafe in Nizhny Novgorod yesterday, however, the proprietor told them, "Go away, otherwise we call the mental hospital, ambulance and lock you in the basement." Vodianova also claims the the owner suggested that he was armed, if the Google translation of her Facebook post is accurate.

On arriving at the cafe to find out what was going on, Natalia and Oksana's mother was met by three guards and the cafe owner told her to, "Go. At first cure [Oksana] and then [you can] come to a public place." When she refused on the grounds that, "This issue concerns not only her, but by and large towards people with disabilities," she was met by armed police who arrested her for "disorderly conduct" -- she was later released without charge.

"I want to appeal to every one of us," Vodianova concludes, "let's help people with disabilities and their families to be happy. Let's help them to [have] teachers and professionals who [work] with them every day, to make sure that their work does not stop outside schools and rehabilitation centers, and we'll have a continuation of this work. Let us help non-profit organizations and charities who are working daily on building an inclusive society in Russia."

Natalia Vodianova's charity, Naked Heart, is hosting a webinar on Monday 17 August at 8am GMT called "When we are all different" on their Youtube channel.



Photography Natalia Vodianova via Facebook

natalia vodianova