Challenges faced by millions of women are among the top global issues. But there are some good developments as well. With the help of technology, there has been more and more progress to look for solutions to gender apartheid, taboos, and women's health.
Organized in collaboration with Elbi,
a digital philanthropy platform, and the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA), the symposium "Let's Talk!" was one of the first steps taken to emphasize women's problems.
Known for her campaigns to raise awareness among women and the co-founder of Elbi, Natalia Vodianova was among the prominent guests of the symposium. Vodianova answered our questions about this platform and herself.
Can you tell us a little bit about Elbi?
Elbi is about accessing and giving voice to smaller organizations in the world. But it’s also about smart philanthropy, how we can imagine the smart home of the future. When it comes to philanthropy, it’s still not personalized. If a great disaster happens in the world, you Google what you can do, and it always goes back to the same very large institutions. But there are many smaller organizations who work really hard in the field and we work to highlight those organizations. We aim to give young people a choice to give their attention, money, and sources to these small organizations. And to personalize philanthropy. We foresee that philanthropy will be more personalized through technology.
How did your charity journey begin? What were your motivations?
I started by running a very big operation in an organization called the Naked Heart Foundation, founded to help people with disabilities and their families. We also worked with many smaller organizations in the region. We saw that what these organizations are doing is vital to our work and to the progress when it comes to special needs. But for them to get funding and attention is so much harder than for an organization like the Naked Heart Foundation which has a strong voice, a strong face because I am the founder.
Can you briefly mention your sponsorship with Turkish Airlines?
This is our first partnership with Turkish Airlines, and it has been a vital success at the "Let’s Talk" symposium in Antalya, to bring all those people all around the world from India, the U.S., France, the U.K., Bulgaria, Russia, Belarus, Lebanon – really from all over the world. We wouldn’t have been able to gather all these people and ideas if we didn’t have this partnership. We are really very grateful. And by the way, Alanna Armitage, the Regional Director of UNFPA Eastern Europe and Central Asia, says she would love to live on a Turkish Airlines plane. I dream to live on Turkish Airlines as well. The food is so amazing. It’s so comfortable, people are so kind; I am really very impressed. This is one of the best airlines, and it was a great experience.
Our First Lady H.E. Emine Erdoğan also attended the symposium. How was your meeting with her?
We were honored to welcome Emine Erdoğan at our event. Her contribution and support were very important to us. She shed light on some of the issues we wanted to emphasize. We’re very happy about that. I was glad to meet her in person, and I’m impressed by the humanitarian aid campaigns she’s leading.
Apart from these campaigns, you also have a job and children. Is it challenging to lead such an active life as a supermodel and a mother of five children?
The fact that I work, that I have a passion and that I follow my passion is very much part of building my children’s heritage. As many women, I sometimes feel moments of guilt. I feel “My goodness, I have another trip.” I miss my children, and they miss me. But when you commit to a certain life, you have to stand by it. It’s an example I set for my children.
How many times have you visited Turkey? Did you have the chance to see other cities? Do you visit Turkey for vacation?
I’ve been to Kaş and Marmaris for vacation a long time ago.
I have been to Istanbul but not really long enough. I will come back to discover it.