BRAMA, Oct 12, 2005, 4:00 pm ET|
'A Great Tragedy', film about Ukraine's orphans
Plymouth Meeting The United Orphaned Children's Fund of Pennsylvania (UOCFP) proudly announces that the new film "A Great Tragedy" has been completed. This emotional movie about the plight of orphans was filmed in Ukraine in June 2005.
The UOCFP is a grassroots, regional and volunteer only non-profit organization based just outside of Philadelphia. It was established to help disadvantaged orphaned children and youth in the country of Ukraine. "We are advocates of these orphans," says UOCFP Executive Director Steve Vetterlein, "and we will do anything possible to improve the quality of life for them and work to help provide them with the necessary tools for a future".
The UOCFP was incorporated in July of this year, but has been functioning as a small charity since 2002, when Mr.Vetterlein and Ukrainian Olexandra Hnypiouk founded it. It is not affiliated with any religious, political or any other non-profit organization.
"We are in the final stage of becoming a 501(c)(3) registered charity with the IRS, and we had to do all the work ourselves, as we couldn't afford an attorney or an accountant. We are not rich people living off of big trust funds with nothing else to do. We all work various jobs, and we do this when we can. But pretty much everything we do is done by ourselves, even this movie." Incidentally, Seabreeze Productions, who produced the film, is Steve's venture. "One of my many wishes, and one of the reasons for making the film, is to get more people involved."
Vetterlein's dream to help these orphans began in 1999, while watching a TV show that was about the group "Help Us Help The Children"(HUHTC) in Toronto, Canada. "I was so compelled to do something. But it did not dawn on me what to do exactly until one very memorable dinner on a very stormy night nearly 8 months later. I was having dinner with a new founded friend (Olexandra), and we both got into such a deep and passionate conversation about this topic."
"As I had ridden in (22) MS-150 Bicycle rides for the National MS Society to raise funds for people afflicted with MS, and even worked on the planning committees, why not do a bike ride to raise funds and world awareness for these kids?"
In an effort to raise funds for HUHTC as well as raise world awareness for the broader cause, in the summer of 2000 Olexandra and Steve did the ride. Starting in Paris, they rode across France, Germany, Poland and then into Western Ukraine. You can read about this trip in their book, called "Mountains of Grace" (Xlibris Publishing). Steve returned to Ukraine in 2002, spending another 2 weeks at the HUHTC summer camp for orphans high up in the Carpathian Mountains of Western Ukraine.
"This year (2005) I returned once again, and had the pleasure to visit a different summer camp called Forest Bell and also the Koropets Orphanage, which houses 229 children from the ages of 4 up to 18.This was obviously a well run institution, and the amazing 60 something woman who runs it was truly doing a wonderful job. But due to lack of funds, the place is all patched up and is in a sad state of falling apart. It needs windows replaced, the main pipe coming in from the town for the heating system needs to be replaced, and the bathrooms are sickening.
When we walked into one of the buildings the kids live in, the smell of human waste penetrated the air. There was obviously no ventilation at all. One of the buildings had such a huge hole in the ceiling from major water damage; it looked like the whole ceiling was about to collapse at any moment. Plus the beds are so old, with the mattresses all worn out, and there was no place for the kids to put anything, with 4 to 6 of them cramped into one small room".
"Our new film was shot during this trip, and was edited over the summer months. You will get to see many of these remarkable orphans, plus learn a little about them. And they will entertain you, as they had put on such an incredible talent show just for us. If you could only meet these absolutely wonderful kids, you would also be compelled to want to help them just as much as we do".
The DVD is 30-minutes long, filmed in vivid color accompanied by a great soundtrack. As it won't be mass-produced, the cost is a little high, but well worth it. This very high quality DVD is $20.00 plus $5.00 for shipping.
"We would be happy to make a presentation for organizations wishing to screen the film, show the movie and answer your questions. We are actively trying to make a difference in Ukraine, and if you have the opportunity to see this movie or our web site, you can view all of our projects. This film was a major effort for us, and your support is greatly needed."
In 2006, the UOCFP hopes to do much more if they can raise the funds to conrinue their work. "There is so much that needs to be done, but unfortunately it is extremely hard to raise money. We can only hope that when you see these children, you will be inspired to want to get involved".
Please visit their web site for information:
614 Treaty Road
Plymouth Meeting, PA 19462 USA
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