The accident at the Chernobyl nuclear power plant in 1986 has left large parts of Belarus contaminated. The children who live in these areas have to eat food containing radio-nuclides, and this is damaging their immune systems.
CCP used to bring many children for holidays from villages in contaminated parts of Belarus. We have also brought children with diabetes or disabilities. In recent years all the children we invite are in remission from cancer or leukaemia.
A few weeks of fresh air and clean food can give a great boost to their health. The children stay for four weeks as this is the minimum period which doctors tell us can make a significant difference to the children’s health. They stay with one family for the first two weeks and then, either with a second family or as a group in a school or other residential centre for the final fortnight.
We bring groups of children of all ages to the UK, including teenagers. Younger children come with their mums who are often also in need of a holiday! Each group is accompanied by a doctor and interpreter.
In addition to the obvious health benefits, the holiday gives the children a psychological boost too and many go home with memories they will treasure for a lifetime along with a host of new Belarussian and English friends for life. The value of this is evident in the messages that we receive from the children and their mothers after their holiday.
Welcoming any child in remission from cancer into your home and your family would likely be a profoundly moving experience for most. But when you know that that child lives in a far less wealthy country with far less resources at its disposal to help those of its residents whose lives have been blighted by an accident in a neighbouring country then the feeling of satisfaction that you are able to help must be heightened still further. Especially when you consider that you are providing a much needed four week break in a clean environment and that, after the holiday they must return to their contaminated homeland.
And, for those host families with children of their own, what better way to demonstrate and teach them the value of helping others, less fortunate than themselves. Not to mention the new lifelong international friendships that may very well result! Read the hosting experiences of families who have hosted kids from Belarus with CCP (UK) and see if they inspire you to welcome a child into your home.
“It is rewarding to know that we have helped two children affected by a disaster long before they were born to experience the things we take for granted, breathing fresh air, playing outside, eating fresh food and receiving medical treatment”.
“The two weeks spent together in our family were busy, and intense, but also incredibly rewarding. It was a privilege to be part of these girls’ holiday in the UK”.
“We hadn’t fully appreciated how attached we would all become to the children we have hosted but by the end of their stay with us, it is always difficult to say goodbye”.
If you would like to know more about hosting then have a read of the Questions and Answers document which will give you a lot more information about hosting children from Belarus. The document gives information about the ages groups of the children that we bring and some of the requirements that you will need to meet. Have a read of the messages form host families and from the children and their mothers that are linked to further up the page.
Take a look at the groups pages on the website to see if there is a group located in your general area of the country. If so, this will make things much simpler.
If you live in a part of the country where there is no pre-existing group, you could consider starting a new group yourself. This will mean finding a few other families in your area who might also be interested in hosting children. CCP (UK) is always delighted to help someone set up a new hosting group and you will be given complete support at all stages in the process.
If you would like more information or have any questions we will be only too pleased to hear from you so do please get in touch:
National Treasurer and Groups Coordinator: Catherine McElholm
Here are some useful phrases in Russian for those hosting children this year.