For immediate release
June 18, 1999

KOSOVO TEENAGER WHOSE E-MAIL LETTERS WERE FEATURED ON NPR IS SAFE

WASHINGTON, DC - "Adona", the young woman in Kosovo whose e-mail letters have been featured on NPR throughout the conflict in Yugoslavia, is safe with her family in Kosovo. Finnegan Hamill, the California teenager with whom 16-year-old Adona has corresponded since January, spoke with her by phone for the first time in weeks on Thursday. He reported on his conversation on Friday on NPR's Morning Edition with Bob Edwards. All of Hamill's reports are available at NPR Online - www.npr.org.

According to Hamill, Adona stayed hidden in her home for most of the war. "Although she made several attempts to leave," he said, "she heard stories of Serb police blocking roads at the border and decided to turn back every time." Now, Adona says, life in Kosovo is returning to normal. "I could tell she was happy," said Hamill. "Her voice was light. The hesitation and fear I heard so often during the war were gone."

This was the first time the two teenagers had spoken in nearly a month. The only news about Adona during this time came from a network of friends who e-mailed Hamill from internet cafes near the border in Macedonia. The friends reached Adona at her home in Kosovo through rigged telephone lines.

Adona still wants to come to the United States to finish school. In the meantime, she has started to work as a translator. "Her family has managed to stay together throughout the war," commented Hamill. "And although Adona may leave them to come to America, at least now she knows they will be waiting for her when she gets back."

The correspondence between the two teenagers began earlier this year when Hamill, a high school student in Berkeley, heard about Adona (a pseudonym) at a church youth group meeting. Hamill brought the e-mails to Youth Radio, an award-winning radio training and production group for teens based in Berkeley. where he worked with a team of producers and young people to bring this story to NPR's Morning Edition and NPR Online. Youth Radio will continue to update Adona's story on NPR's Morning Edition and at NPR Online. Tapes and transcripts are available upon request.

National Public Radio, a membership organization of 608 public radio stations across America, is radio's leading provider of high-quality news, information and cultural programming. NPR is the producer and distributor of award-winning programs such as Morning Edition®, Talk of the Nation®, Performance Today® and CarTalk.