The project was intended to show that a girl in a wheelchair is not a sentence to tenderness and elegance; it’s just a more subtle flavor of femininity, which must be properly identified and disclosed.
Olga Migal, the project manager :
“The idea for the project originated at a charity evening where I got acquainted with Antonina Zinovenko. I’ve been a volunteer at the Association of wheelchair users for 8 years; I am dealing with girls and boys in wheelchairs in rehabilitation camps. There are many kinds of projects and competitions in our country, they are for anyone except for those who are limited in their capabilities, but they can become examples of how to instill a craving for life to everyone. So I ‘m very happy that I managed to find someone who helped me to realize this project.
“The basis for the project was a hypothesis of the American psychologist Jean Shinod Bolen which states that each type of femininity corresponds to a certain ancient Greek goddess. Eight goddesses – eight participants – eight types of femininity.
Throughout the project, the participants worked with stylists and a photographer who helped them to embody the eight ancient Greek goddesses, eight types of femininity. The video operator created video presentation about the life of each of the participants to reflect their rich life in wheelchairs.
Alexandra Chichikova, the participant:
“I’m very glad that I was able to take part in this project. Sometimes people look at us as a novelty, and when you tell them that you work and attend various events ,all you can see in their eyes is: “How do you cope with it ?’
When people are on their feet will look through this project, I would like them to understand that there is only one difference between the wheelchair user and any healthy person – they are healthy legs and wheels. And if everywhere in our city special facilities for people with disabilities were installed, we would no longer seemed to be such a novelty … Each citizen of our country regardless of their physical abilities should feel a full member of society.
I would like this project to help many of the wheelchair users to breathe in the spirit of confidence and give them strength to overcome their fears, move forward and show the world – here I am! In whatever situation you might find yourselves , try to achieve your goals , try to change and improve your life , learn how to stand up for your rights. I would also like to thank everyone who participated in this project, and thank the organizers – Migal Olga and Zinovenko Antonina , without them we would not be able to show all people what we are.”
Alexandra Gorodnikova , the participant:
“This project is very bright and 100 % inspiring. After my participation in it I started looking at myself in a different way: a few beautiful photos, a lot of positive thoughts and nice people helped me! I have changed, and I think the project will change the views of many people around us and many girls in wheelchairs will, I hope, become less pinched. They will look at us and say, “Ha! If they can do so, why can’t I do the same? ‘. And I hope, our society would lose a lot of clichés and prejudices against wheelchair users and would feel no pity (as usually), but the pride that all Belarusian girls are beautiful, regardless of their physical ability!”
Irina Verbitskaya, the participant:
“Most of all I want to say thank you to Antonina and Olga for their terrific idea, and for the great job to Oleg Gorokh , Yuri Ilyukhin , the team of stylists of L Studio, Paul Zenyuk , to everybody and everyone! The project gave confidence to every girl, brought inspiration to my life and, of course, helped to meet many awesome people!”
Anastasia Kostyuchkova , the participant :
“I have never participated in such events before. The project is necessary and very interesting. I really enjoyed the process of preparation and the result. The professionals have made really beautiful girls out of us!”
Elena Galkina, the participant:
“This project helped all of us: someone managed to overcome her problems, someone managed to overcome her fears. Personally for me, it is important to draw attention of so-called healthy people to myself. It is very important to feel my importance in the world, feel the people’s interest. 2-3 hours in the evening passed like a fairy tale – with much fun and almost insensibly, the lack of reality and a sense of euphoria were felt in the air. I am pleased that the project was ultimately not a competition, but simply a presentation of photos and videos, so in the end it did not hurt anyone, because we are all beautiful and interesting in a different way, and I think it would be difficult to choose the best girl. Once again, many thanks to everyone!”
Alesya Mokritskaya , the participant:
“Many thanks to the organizers of this wonderful project; I didn’t think that everything will turn out so great!”
Anna Shumak, the participant:
“I am very glad I took part in this new project in our country – “The Goddess of Femininity” It helped – I hope so – to show our society that women in wheelchairs are not just people with disabilities but also real women who are beautiful, and cheerful , and full of energy and vitality.
I hope that this project will inspire many other girls and women; they would not stay discouraged, but will go out of their houses, take care of themselves, look for new friends and just live. Especially now when spring is coming. Dear girls, remember that you are beautiful, and your disability / your wheelchair should not stop you from believing in it.
This project has helped me to believe in myself, to start feeling that I am a beautiful woman, a queen and a goddess. I would like to say a big thank you for all those magical feelings I had while participating in this project. And I really hope that this project will keep on going, but on a grand scale.”
Oleg Zharkovsky , the representative of the ” MaeSense ” says:
“In fact it was not even a charity event , as it was announced , it was the right thing to call it a creative presentation of the project on the topic that is in need of charitable support … So, on April, 25 in the evening the” Orion” welcomed the presentation of the” Goddess of Femininity ” . It was dedicated to the beauty of women who have become wheelchair-bounded. With the help of a few stylists from «L studio» and the photographer Yuri Ilyukhina («FOTOATELIE.BY») 8 girls became the Greek goddesses.
The family atmosphere was in the air. The evening started with light refreshments, the music string quartet was playing, and later Herman continued to sing. Later the presentation started and only once it was punctuated by the performance of Minsk bartenders. But let’s go back to the presentation …
Every photo was preceded by a small video of each girl, who was the heroine of the next photo. And I must confess: it was incredible! Because every movie was simple and impressive at the same time, and truly inspired everyone who was present. Yuri Iliukhin very aptly named all the participants “people with limitless possibilities “: they are masters of sports in fencing, table tennis, archery; dancing champions in wheelchairs, the winners of beauty contests, good family men and just professionals! And for me the photo project became the video project.
” MaeSense” gave 2.5 million for the purchase of prizes for the participants of the ” Goddess of Femininity “.
“I sincerely thank all of those who were involved in this project: the organizers and stylists, and photographers and models. By the way, I cannot believe that they are as feminine as their photo images ! This evening once again showed me that the impossible does not exist!
Valentina Gapon , the chairman of the Board of the Minsk Public Association “Republican Association of Wheelchair Users “:
“I want to thank all the participants of the” Goddess of Femininity» and all those who helped to make it happen. Hopefully, thanks to this project, people will start believing in themselves or their loved ones, someone will reevaluate attitudes, and someone will look at her/his life differently. Our organization in the future and with great pleasure is ready to implement these projects to life.”
Antonina Zinovenko , the project manager :
“People became part of this project in a different way: someone with ease, some “creaking “. Not everybody is ready to learn about the life of wheelchair users. They are afraid. They are not afraid, but they simply do not want to learn about it. But from all of those who have dared to be part of this project I’ve heard something like this: “They are so cool! They are so sincere! Many of us must learn how to lead our lives! ” I heard the same words after the project was over, when at the gala evening the videos of the girls saw a wider audience.
Look at eight of these short presentations and photos of girls, you will not be wasting a couple of minutes of your time – believe me! And I hope very much that many things in your life will to be treated in a different way.”
The results of the project were presented at a gala evening on April, 25 in the club “Orion”.
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