Doctors in Belarus say that a four week holiday boosts the children’s immune systems for at least two years, helping them to resist, or recover from, serious illness.
In the summer, when the dust causes radiation levels to rise, it is important for as many children as possible to leave their contaminated homeland for a few weeks of fresh air and clean food.
It can also significantly reduce the amount of radioactive caesium which has built up in a child’s body.
Each summer Chernobyl Children’s Project (UK) brings around 100 children to Britain for a recuperative holiday. It also organises holidays in clean parts of Belarus for children whose disabilities make it difficult for them to travel.
Most of the children we bring to the UK are in remission from leukaemia or cancer. They are chosen by an organisation in Minsk called Children in Trouble, which is run by parents of children with cancer.
Holidays abroad are vital for their children, particularly in their teens, when many fall ill for a second or third time, and the death rate is very high.
Other children may come from some of the most contaminated parts of the country. There are still many children living in tiny rural villages, sometimes just a few miles from the Chernobyl plant. These children may not be ill yet, but their future is bleak if they continue to live in such a radioactive environment.
Whilst they are in the UK the children stay with the families of the project’s volunteer groups in Endon & Stoke,Glossop, Gloucester and Cheltenham, Liverpool, Leeds, Solihull and Stafford. These groups are always keen for help, including offers to host the Belarussian children for a fortnight during the month-long summer visit.
If there is no group in your area we would be very happy to help you to start one!
For more information see Questions and Answers about Hosting.