BRAMA, Feb 15, 2006, 11:00 am ET|
Proceeds from Orange Revolution book help orphans in Ukraine
Article from the Foreword of Conscience Calls - Poklyk Sumlinnia
By Orest Deychakiwsky
The word "historic" has become overused of late, but there can be no doubt that Ukraine's Orange Revolution was a triumphal historic event for Ukraine. It showed, beyond the shadow of a doubt, the determination of the people of Ukraine to achieve their rights in a peaceful manner and to live in a democratic, free and independent country. It was, indeed, an idea whose time had come!
BUY THE BOOK
$30 (postage included US/Canada)
Check made out to:
Sts. Volodymyr and Olha "Starving for Color"
Roksolana Tymiak-Lonchyna DDS
828 S Washington St.
Hinsdale, IL 60521 USA
Proceeds from the sale of Conscience Calls are used to purchase infant formula for orphanages in Ukraine though the "Starving For Color" program. "Starving for Color" was started by Roksolana Tymiak-Lonchyna with the opening of the Black and White photo exhibit of orphaned, neglected and abandoned children of Lviv, Ukraine, in October of 2002 at the Ukrainian National Museum in Chicago, IL. With the help of Sts. Volodymyr and Olha Parish an account was established to nourish the orphaned newborns.
Dr. Tymiak-Lonchyna has been traveling to Ukraine every 4-6 months at her own expense, visiting orphanages and buying formula as needed in 6 month increments. The amount of formula purchased varies depending on the number of newborns residing at the orphanages. Prices are negotiated with a local distributor, and Dr. Tymiak-Lonchyna remains until the formula is delivered, at which point the payment is made.
Until 2005, Dr. Tymiak-Lonchyna worked with one orphanage in Lviv since it was the only one that housed newborn orphans. As a result of her trip to Ukraine during the Orange Revolution, she also supports infant formula supplies at an orphanage in Donetsk.
It is the author's goal to bring more orphanages into the program. But this has to be done responsibly with an eye on the available funds, primarily so that the orphanages where the program was initiated do not suffer as a result.
It takes about 7.24 hryvni (5.12 hryvni - $1.00) a day to feed a child. Each book sold provides approximately 17 days of sustenance for one child. One of the orphanages cares for between 9 to 14 newborns at any given time, and they require formula through the first 8 months.
Throughout much of the last century, the Ukrainian people were subjected to tremendous suffering, most notably the genocidal Ukrainian famine of 1932-33, perpetrated by foreign dictatorships and invaders. The euphoria of long-awaited independence in 1991 did not bring with it full freedom. Ukraine's post-communist regimes were not able - or willing - to shed the legacy of the past. Unrestrained corruption, including at the highest levels, the suppression of media freedoms, the killing of journalists, were all manifestations of the Kuchma regime's contempt for the people of Ukraine, and potentially exposed Ukraine's vulnerability as an independent state.
Numerous international observers, including the author of this manuscript, observed the fair and transparent run-off elections which were held on December 26 - the third nationwide election in two months. This election stood in sharp contrast to the runoff held just 5 weeks earlier, an election that was marked by widespread manipulation and outright falsification.
After that November 21 election, something unanticipated, something monumental, something truly unprecedented occurred in Ukraine. The Ukrainian people had had enough. I witnessed just one of many examples of this as an OSCE international observer during the November 21 elections. I was observing in the infamous Territorial Electoral Commission #100 in Kirovohrad, in central Ukraine, which rightly earned the reputation as one of the worst places with respect to election fraud in the first-round, October 31 elections. It was there that I saw ordinary people standing up for their rights, voicing their fervent desire "to live in a civilized country."
The very next day, in Kyiv, in reaction to the widespread fraud, I witnessed the streets of the capital rapidly filling with thousands upon thousands of men, women and children bedecked in orange. Clearly, the spirit of democracy inspired Ukrainians of all ages. Within a few weeks, the will of the people prevailed.
Nobody present will ever forget what happened in Independence Square in Kyiv in the days and weeks following the fraudulent November runoff. The dignified presence and determination of those in Kyiv - and, for that matter, others elsewhere in Ukraine -- provided the strength to seek freedom and fair elections. It gave strength to Ukraine's institutions, and on December 3, the Supreme Court invalidated the November 21 election and ordered a repeat of the runoff vote between Prime Minister Yanukovich and opposition leader Viktor Yushchenko to be held on December 26. A few days later, the Verkhovna Rada approved a new law on presidential elections, paving the way for a freer, more transparent voting process.
The support from Western governments and international organizations such as the OSCE (Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe), which insisted that the Ukrainian authorities comply with standards for fair and transparent elections, also helped, as did the many thousands of international observers, including many from Ukraine's far-flung diaspora, who observed all three rounds, particularly the successful, free and fair December 26 elections.
With the success of the Orange Revolution, Ukraine is on the path to fulfill its quest to become a thriving democracy in which human rights are respected and the rule of law prevails. As we have seen it is not an easy path, but it is one worth taking and one that Ukraine's leadership seems determined to follow.
Roksolana Tymiak-Lonchyna, a Chicago dentist and Ukrainian-American community activist, has written a highly-readable, personal account of her experiences as an international election observer during this historic period for Ukrainians everywhere. She provides not only a fascinating account of what it was like to observe the elections in a difficult environment - the stronghold of Prime Minister Yanukovich - but also offers a glimpse into Ukrainian life in three distinct Ukrainian cities - Lviv, Kyiv, and Donetsk. Her observations of the election process, but also her experiences with and perceptions of people and places throughout Ukraine provide interesting insights to life in Ukraine - the country of her parents' birth -- during this historic time.
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