Urgent appeal for families to host children from Chernobyl
- Credit: Nick Butcher
A group which offers respite holidays for children still affected by the Chernobyl disaster is urgently appealing for volunteers to host the youngsters this year.
The Chet and Waveney Link of the Chernobyl Children's Life Line (CCLL) is calling for individuals or families to host one or two children during their visit in June.
The link was set up in 2014 by Alison Stannard from Hales, to support the children of Belarus and Ukraine whose lives are still affected by the aftermath of the 1986 Chernobyl nuclear disaster.
The children, aged between nine and 11, spend a month taking part in fun days out and activities organised by the link, as well as essential trips to the dentist and opticians.
Mrs Stannard said: 'The majority of these children will never have the opportunity to leave their village again, let alone have the opportunity to go abroad.
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'So, in hosting you truly will be giving a forever gift that will remain priceless to the recipient.'
The children who visit are not sick, but they do live in areas that have suffered greatly from the aftermath of the Chernobyl disaster. And 30 years on the situation is still affecting second and third generation children.
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Four weeks breathing clean air, eating nourishing food and drinking clean water can rebuild the children's immune system to such a degree that it can take up to two years to return to the current levels after their return home.
Mrs Stannard said: 'This can help to extend the children's life expectancy which has already been severely compromised by living with the after effects of the Chernobyl disaster.'
Mrs Stannard is hoping to bring ten children over this year, but desperately needs families or individuals to offer a loving home.
The children are accompanied by an interpreter, often their school teacher, and are also given new clothes, some basic medical items to take home and a year's supply of vitamins for themselves and their siblings.
Hosts are able to continue with their own jobs or interests as the children meet daily during the week for activities, and helpers are on hand to collect or look after the children at other times if needed.
Mrs Stannard said: 'Over the years many hosts have enjoyed the experience so much that they have acquired extended families when they decide to keep in touch with 'their' children. A hosting family is not paid but a high level of support is provided and the reward comes in seeing children blossom during their time in the UK.'
Families or individuals that cannot host are also welcome to help with the activities and day trips.
Mrs Stannard would also like to thank The Butchers Arms in Beccles for raising £3,080 in less than a year to help towards the visit.
If you would like to be considered as a host parent or a helper email Mrs Stannard at email@example.com or Kate Noble at firstname.lastname@example.org