The journey of a thousand miles
begins with a single step.
- Lao Tse
UAC Ukraine is helping to break down barriers for disabled young people in Odessa through our Orphaned Teen Scholarship Program! We currently have nearly 10 students in the Scholarship Program who have graduated from orphanages for children with physical handicaps. These students have overcome significant challenges and are determined to succeed! Please read on to learn more about this amazing group of students and their special needs.
Scholarship Program Director Peter Panin (center) checks up on Vasily Dubovik (left) and Sasha Malenky (right). Both graduated from Orphanage #7 and are now attending technical schools. To learn more about all that Sasha and Vasily have accomplished, please see below.
Alexander (Sasha) Malenky is a class of 2009 graduate of Orphanage #7 for handicapped children. When Alexander was in 2nd grade he was struck with a high-tension current of ten thousand volts. The electrical current went throughout Alexander’s head, arms, legs and torso. At the time, some of his relatives thought that he was dead so they hid his body under some branches in the woods nearby. Sasha was not dead, but had lost consciousness. When he regained consciousness he pulled himself out of the branches and tried crawling to his village. In such a state he made it nearly a mile before falling into a pit and losing consciousness for a second time. Sasha was found in the pit by workers who were passing by and happened to see him down there. He was taken to the hospital: His body was burned all over, with holes in his head, torso and arms. Both his feet, half of his right hand and the fingers on his left hand were amputated. Skin was grafted from one part of his body to another. Doctors told his mother that he would die soon because it would be impossible to survive with such extensive wounds.
After the accident, Alexander’s father left his family. At some point after that, his mother was deprived of her parental rights. Then, Sasha was placed in an orphanage and his mother started drinking. In spite of everything that happened during that time, Sasha didn’t lose his faith or courage. Instead, he continued to struggle for his life. Sasha stayed in a hospital and learned to walk on his new artificial feet before they were even finished. The doctors were shocked, as it normally took months for other patients to learn this skill. Sasha began running even when his artificial feet did not have synthetic skin yet. He started doing sports and achieved great results in track and field and was a winner in many competitions. Later on, he taught himself to type on a computer.
Upon graduating from Orphanage #7, Sasha went on to earn a degree certificate from Odessa Professional School #33. He hopes to enroll at another university or vocational school in the future, but in the meantime Sasha is working hard to support his wife and daughter, all while getting adjusted to a new set of artificial limbs.
Vasily Dubovik is a class of 2010 graduate from Orphanage #7. Upon graduating from the orphanage, this 20 year old student was sent to Sympheropol Retirement Home against his will. At the retirement home, there were no opportunities for Vasily to learn or pursue his dreams. With the help of UAC, Vasily was able to enter the Professional Center for Handicapped in Eupatoria, where he completed a one year course in art studies. Vasily is now a student at Crimea Specialized Professional School for the Handicapped.
Katya Borodina is a class of 2009 graduate of Orphanage #7 and a member of the Scholarship Program. She has congenital cerebral paralysis and suffers from spasticity and hip dislocation. Katya must use crutches in order to walk. Last year she entered a technical college to study seamstress work. Her courses were not located near her apartment/dorm, so UAC staff helped Katya learn how to take the transit system in order to get to and from school. Recently, she completed driver's training courses and is in the process of getting a driver's license. What an accomplishment! Katya’s positive attitude and determination are admirable.
Katya recovers in a hospital after surgery. UAC's Igor Shepyeta visited her and brought her food and reading materials.
Showing off her embroidery work!
Katya proves that disability does not mean immobility!