Russian supermodel takes orphan’s story close to heart

A British journalist and a Russian supermodel have teamed up to tell the true story of a Russian orphan’s journey from being abandoned in a mental hospital to finding loving parents in the US.

“The Boy from Baby House 10” was written by Alan Philps, who was instrumental in helping young Vanya start a new life. Natalia Vodianova helped to get the book published and wrote a preface for it.

Dubbed “Russia’s Cinderella,” Vodianova is internationally known not only as a supermodel, but also as a keen children’s philanthropist. Her “Naked Heart” foundation built dozens of playgrounds for children in different cities around Russia.

Coming from a family with a disabled sibling, Vodianova took Vanya’s story very close to heart.

“I grew up in a singe-mother family with a disabled sister – she is now 22 years old,” Vodianova told RT. “Alan [Philps] read about my story and wrote me a note that touched me and made me read his book. It said, ‘Thank you and your mother for not abandoning your sister in a state institution, like it happened to Vanya.’”

Undertaking the challenge to publish and promote the book, Vodianova hoped that it could play an important role in changing people’s attitude toward the disabled.

“The situation with orphanages in Russia hasn’t improved much, unfortunately,” Vodianova told RT. “There are numerous issues connected with disability. For example, children with certain diagnoses cannot be adopted at all. People who will read Alan’s book will understand how this system works, how brutal it is, what challenges such children face in state institutions. This is an incredible story. We hope the book encourages families not to give up on their children.”

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