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 300 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.
Many of the children brought 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.
The project also includes groups of very young children who come for a holiday with their mothers.
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.
A happy, healthy holiday in the summer may give them a better chance.
Whilst they are in the UK the children stay with the families of the project’s volunteer groups dotted around the country. These groups are always keen for help, including offers to host the Belarussian children for a fortnight during the month-long summer visit.
To see whether we have a local group in your area, click here
For more information see Questions and Answers about Hosting.