Friday, May 21, 2010

Zhenya's Case

For over two years, An Orphan Smiles has been advocating for a young man who has been falsely accused of murder mainly because of his orphan status. Last November, there was a major break through and he was released from prison. However, the charges had still not been dropped.

We have received a new report from our in-country supporter Bogdan on the latest development in Zhenya's case:

Today was the first hearing on Zhenya's case. Bad news: the prosecutors have changed Zhenya's charges from killing a person while defending himself (maximum 2 years of prison) to an assault that caused a person's death (minimum 7 years maximum 9 years of prison). We are back at the where we started 3 years ago...What a nightmare...

The good news is that the judge who is hearing the case seems to be much more professional and fair than the previous judge. But then again, this judge works in the same court house and in the same system...Both of our attorneys were at the court hearing today - Oleg Veremeenko (the young and fearless attorney who specializes on human rights cases - INCREDIBLE person) and Vladimir Grechanovsky (an older and very well-known attorney who consults us on the case and makes judges and prosecutors take us seriously). Those guys are really great. They make Zhenya feel really confident.

The next hearing will be on June 25th, at 9 a.m.

Friday, May 14, 2010

GAP Program Feedback

GAP is An Orphan Smiles program which assists teenagers aging out of the orphanage system in Ukraine generally at the age of 16. Sponsors are needed to be matched with these young adults to provide support after they leave the orphanage in June.

Koila pictured here is one of the lucky orphans who has a very caring sponsor family to cheer him on while he completes his vocational training. Koila is wearing a beautiful handknit sweater made for him by his sponsor.

If you are interested in becoming a sponsor for a deserving teenager who has very little or no support in the world outside the orphanage please visit our GAP program page on our website: