26th April 1986, saw the nuclear power plant at Chernobyl in Northern Ukraine explode & subsequently blanket Belarus with radioactive contamination.
FOCC Forth Valley intends to provide respite care for disadvantaged children from the contaminated areas of Belarus following this nuclear catastrophe.
Friends of Chernobyl’s Children-Forth Valley, is a new group set up in Linlithgow, which already exists in other areas of the UK.
17 children came over from Belarus, one of the worst affected areas, in April, to live with host families in Linlithgow, for four weeks.
All the children have been referred by either a teacher at their school or a social worker, they all live in contaminated areas that have high levels of radiation. They also come from poor families that struggle to provide food and clothing.
They speak no English and Russian is their first language. They left Belarus at 2am on Wednesday 17th April and travelled for 4 hours by car to Minsk airport. They then flew to London and on to Edinburgh, where they arrived at 6pm. You can imagine how they felt in this strange environment, where nobody speaks their language except their new friends and the interpreters.
It seemed appropriate, to give these children one of our ‘Teddies for Tragedies’, when they were first met at the airport. All teddies the same size, so all starting on equal footing, regardless of what toys and gifts their host families will give them later.
One host family said when they went in to check on their charge the first night, she was fast asleep, and regardless of the lovely toys on her bed, provided by this family, she was cuddling into her new knitted teddy!
Sending the teddies back to Belarus will be easy as they will tuck in nicely among the children’s new clothes which take priority over the toys they have received over the time they have spent here in Scotland.
A Month of Love
” The children arrived pale faced, under-nourished, shabbily-dressed and carrying small plastic shopping bags with basic belongings. Some children arrived completely empty handed after the 2 day journey from Belarus.
During the next 4 weeks the children blossomed, gaining strength and vitality before our very eyes. One month later the children returned to Belarus with suitcases filled to bursting with warm clothes, shoes, toiletries, vitamin pills and as much pre-packed and tinned food as we could cram into them. The children returned home having gained weight, with rosy cheeks and happy confidence, knowing that people in the UK care and will continue to provide a valuable lifeline for them “
During their stay in the UK the children live with host families and take part in a huge range of activities developed to meet both their recreational and medical needs.
The host families care for the children, providing a friendly stable environment, nourishing food and lots of loving care. The charity meanwhile organises daily activities, medical checks and plenty of good clean fresh air and fun.
This help however does not end when the children return to Belarus. The Friends of Chernobyl’s Children also provide a twelve month supply of vitamins and any essential medicines, clothes and food for both the children and their families in order to maintain the benefits of their visit throughout the year.
It has been proven that care of this nature substantially boosts the children’s shattered immune systems and enables them to enjoy a healthier, fuller and longer life.
It is the aim of the charity to repeat this treatment for each child every twelve months in order to help them live a life we all take for granted.
You can follow the events on Facebook at Friend’s of Chernobyl’s Children – Forth Valley.