Naked Heart Foundation
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|Focus||Providing play facilities across Russia for underprivileged children and supporting children with special needs and their families.|
|Method||Constructing play parks; Raising awareness about special needs and disability among children; Preventing and institutionalisaton of underprivileged and disabled children.|
|Natalia Vodianova - Founder|
|Slogan||Play with Purpose; Every Child Deserves a Family|
|Mission||"To help build an inclusive society that is open to people with disabilities and special needs, through encouraging play and creation of free support services for disadvantaged families."|
The Naked Heart Foundation is a charity that aims to ensure that every child in Russia has a loving family and a safe and stimulating place to play. It does this through creating safe and inspiring play facilities in impoverished areas, supporting foster families and families raising children with disabilities, funding NGOs that work with such families, preventing the abandonment of children in Russia and changing attitudes towards disability.
The organisation was founded in 2004 by model and actress Natalia Vodianova in response to the trauma she witnessed among children who had survived the 2004 Beslan School siege and, more generally, her perception of the importance of play for children.
The organisation's basic argument is that play should be viewed as necessity rather than a luxury and that there has been insufficient attention paid in Russia to making sure that children have safe environments to play in. The organisation's website identifies Russian psychiatrist Lev Vygotsky as providing some motivation for the Foundation's work, and quotes him as saying, "A child's greatest achievements are possible in play, achievements that will tomorrow become his basic level of real action and morality. It is the essence of play that a new relation is created… between situations in thought and real situations."
The play parks and playgrounds
The organisation built its first Play Park in 2006 in Nizhny Novgorod as part of its "Play with Purpose" programme. It has since built over 158 Play Parks and Playgrounds (the distinction between the Play Parks and Playgrounds being that the latter are smaller in size). Architect and artist Adam Kalkin provided the design for the parks' recreation centres, which are constructed using shipping containers.
Every child deserves a family
In 2011 the Naked Heart Foundation launched a new programme - "Every Child Deserves a Family". It focuses on supporting families raising children with special needs. The Naked Heart Foundation gives financial and administrative aid to professionals working for NGOs that assist families of children who have special developmental needs. In 2011 the charity opened its first Family Support Centre in Nizhny Novgorod, where families raising children with special needs are provided free support from qualified teachers, psychologists and therapists.
The Love Ball
There have been several events to raise funds for the Foundation - most notably the Love Ball.
The 2008 Love Ball in Moscow (12–14 February 2008) was organised as a three-day event culminating with the Love Ball on Valentine’s evening.
The 2010 Love Ball was held in London and supported by De Beers. The evening involved a charity auction of various pieces by De Beers and was attended by various people from the worlds of fashion, art and high society.
The 2011 Love Ball was a summer event held in the grounds of Valentino Garavani's 17th century Chateau de Wideville near Paris. The theme of the event was "White Fairy Tale", with most guests dressing in white or silver in keeping with the fairytale theme.
The 2013 Love Ball RIVIERA was held in Monte-Carlo on 27 July under the High Patronage of H.S.H. Prince Albert II and the Presidencies of H.S.H. Princess of Monaco and H.R.H. Princess of Hanover.
History and organisation
The organisation has offices in Nizhny Novgorod, Moscow and London. The Foundation's accounts are available under its entry on the Charity Commission's website.
- http://www.charity-commission.gov.uk/ShowCharity/RegisterOfCharities/CharityWithPartB.aspx?RegisteredCharityNumber=1122345&SubsidiaryNumber=0 Naked Heart Foundation at the Charity Commission
- Russian supermodel's playful ambition CNN May 15, 2009
- Fisher, Alice (21 February 2010). "Importance of Play, Guardian". The Guardian. London.
- Vygotsky and Education: Instructional Implications and Applications of Sociohistorical Psychology. Cambridge University Press. 1992. p. 288.
- Menkes, Suzy (6 June 2011). "Putting Fairy Tales and Fashion in Play". The New York Times.
- http://www.telegraph.co.uk/fashion/style/3364504/The-stars-come-out-for-Supernova.html The stars come out for Supernova, By Yasmin Mills The Daily Telegraph Feb 2008
- "De Beers article "The Love Ball 2010"" (PDF).