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She was led by two little boys and a girl with matted hair and ripped, dirty clothes to the bathroom, and when she saw the grim facilities, she knew she wanted to do something about them. The bathroom was 200 yards away from the orphanage’s main house, and it consisted of three small holes, each with a couple of flip-down boards and a hanging curtain. These three curtained holes were the only bathroom for 200 children, ages six to 18. «There was, of course, a strong odor,» she said, «and it seems like a long way for the kids to walk just to go to the bathroom.» Many of the unkempt children in the orphanage were left behind from the Chornobyl nuclear power plant disaster. Others were there because their parents had AIDS and could not support them financially. When Bihun went home to her parents after visiting the orphanage they could tell she was disturbed. «Every time I came home my mom noticed I wasn’t up for talking for a few days,» she said. After returning to the United States, she finished high school in Jericho, Vermont, and started organizing jazz and folk concerts in nearby Richmond to raise money for her Ukrainian Orphanage Project. She plans to take a year off before starting college to raise more money and work on the project. At the first concert she raised $500, and with more contributions and possibly some grant money she hopes to build ten toilets, sinks, and showers for the children. She is organizing most of the building project on her own. «My parents have helped with signatures and stuff like

that since I’m under 18, but, yeah, it’s pretty much my own thing,» she said. Mike Wetherell, a program support manager at the Institute for Sustainable Communities, said it’s not very common for teens to take on their own international relief project. The nonprofit institute helps communities in emerging democracies. «It takes a lot of energy, enthusiasm, and time to pick up a project on your own,» Wetherell said. «You develop a lot of skills, professional opportunities, and community connections, too.» Ulana hopes to return to the orphanage in September to brainstorm ideas and see if she can hire workers. She then hopes to return after winter has passed and supervise the building project. She is nervous about how it will all work out. «There’s a lot going on there politically, and a lot to be scared of,» she said. «I know I can’t raise $2,000 and just give it to them in an envelope, because the women that run the orphanage would just take it and run. I do have to be there watching them the whole time.» Ulana hopes to continue raising money while she is in college for other supplies the orphanage might need in the future. To give: Anyone wishing to make a donation to the Ukrainian Orphanage Project can contact Ulana Bihun at (802) 899–1249 or e-mail her at This article was adapted from Christine Danyow, «Teen launches her own international relief effort,» Burlington Free Press, August 8, 2005 (

Hal Foster

official: He or she must prove in court that what the journalism organization said, which the public official claims was defamatory, was false. By contrast, under Ukrainian law, if a public official files either a criminal-libel complaint or a civil-libel lawsuit against a journalism organization, the burden of proof is not on the public official to prove the material false but on the journalism organization to prove the material is true. That is, the journalism organization must prove in court that what it said about a public official that supposedly defamed the public official was true. Although this may sound to a layman like semantics, it is far from that. The reality is that putting the burden of proof on a public official makes it much more difficult for him or her to win a libel case. In addition to putting the burden of proof on the public official, American libel law requires a public official to prove also that, in doing its story about the official, the journalism organization engaged in «actual malice.» This means that, even when a public official proves that his or her reputation has been hurt by an erroneous story, the official must prove either that • the journalism organization ran the erroneous material knowing beforehand that it was false, or • the journalism organization engaged in such reckless news-gathering practices that it should have known the story was false. Anyone familiar with the difference between Ukrainian libel law and American libel law can guess the effect of the difference on journalistic freedom in the two coun-

Auburn University One way Fulbright professors can help Ukrainians improve their lot over the long term is to plant ideas with their Ukrainian students about reforming some of Ukraine's laws and institutions once the students assume positions of influence several years after graduation. I was able to plant some seeds about reforming Ukrainian journalism law while teaching American journalism law at the Odesa National Academy of Law in the fall and winter of 2004. I became familiar with Ukrainian libel and privacy law while doing journalism consulting work in Ukraine for the non-profit, Washington-based International Research & Exchanges Board (IREX) between 2002 and 2004. Part of the consulting involved helping independent, non-government-affiliated newspapers deal with libel and privacy issues. As part of the process, IREX provided me with a Ukrainian journalism-law expert, and I learned a lot about Ukrainian libel and privacy law from her. The gist of what I learned is that Ukrainian libel and privacy law favors public officials over journalists. In both Ukraine and the United States, there can be no finding of libel unless a journalism organization runs inaccurate material about the official that also damages the official's reputation. In the United States and many other Western countries, the burden of proof is on the public


Fulbright Ukraine Yearbook 2005  

The 2005 Yearbook includes a short description of projects for this year by Ukrainian and American Fulbright scholars, which will be useful...