Radio Free Europe / Radio Free Liberty
At Ukrainian Camp, Orphans Learn Painful Past Doesn’t Mean Grim Future”

Photo (Adriana Luhovy) – “The goal is to get them to believe in themselves and their ability to do whatever they want to do,” says camp counselor Tanya Bednarzyck.

By Christian Borys
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Sitting on the porch of a log cabin in the picturesque foothills of the Carpathian Mountains, her back to the sun in an attempt to avoid the relentless heat, 33-year-old Darya Trushkina calmly recounts one of the many episodes of abuse she suffered in Ukraine’s orphanage system.

She clearly remembers the pain, both physical and mental, of being tied up and beaten by her fellow housemates for the innocuous crime of achieving a good grade. Such experiences became a regular part of her formative years when, at the tender age of 9, she lost her parents and both siblings in a horrific accident.

Trushkina has now moved far beyond her calamitous past and plays an impressive leading role at Apple. Hers is one of many success stories that can be directly tied to a summer camp set in a sleepy mountain town deep in the heart of western Ukraine.

“The most important part was that they convinced us that we’re not the trash of society,” says Trushkina of the camp in the village of Vorokhta. “They made us realize that we can achieve anything we want.”


The older kids hike to camp along a gently sloping mountain path.


While at camp, they are introduced to activities such as archery, breakdancing, and baseball for the very first time.



Christian Borys is a Canadian journalist based in Ukraine


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