Many of the children who come to Britain appear normal and healthy, but they are all subjected to the long term effects of levels of radiation that would not be tolerated in the Western World. Their plight is often exacerbated by lack of medical facilities, contaminated food, shortage of medicines, poor nutrition, poor and overcrowded living conditions, unemployment, and difficult family circumstances.
What can you do?
By helping to bring children from Belarus to the UK to breath clean air, eat fresh, wholesome food, and enjoy sharing in family life is a caring gesture. Your assistance will help a generation and give the people of the affected areas in Belarus hope for the future.
Become a host parent or host family
We are looking for friendly and caring environments for our children to be welcomed into. Age should not be an issue and part-time work is usually not an obstacle as we provide support during the visit period. It also does not matter if you have (or do not have) children yourself.
An introduction to hosting
The Link hosts one group of children each year, accompanied by an English speaking, certified Leader/Interpreter. The leader is usually a teacher. The group stays in England for three weeks during the summer, between mid-July and mid-August. The children are very brave for venturing into the unknown, away from their parents and where a different language is spoken. They are between 8 and 11 years of age, and speak little English. We do our best to communicate with our host families and the children before each visit to ease any confusion and create proper expectations. We understand it can be a daunting project to be a part of.
Anyone interested in hosting should make contact with the link. The process begins with a home visit from members of our committee. During the visit, both parties can ask questions to become better informed about the process. The majority of our host families are either families with young children, or host parents of an age where their own children have left home. We recommend hosting two children at a time, as it's easier for the children to have someone of their own age and nationality to spend time with at your house. A single child is suitable for host families with children of a similar age. It is surprising how well children can understand each other and play together without a common language. Children can share a room with your own children of a similar age and the same gender. Anyone interested needs to be DBS checked (all members of the household above 16 years of age, this is free).
We partake is numerous activities over the three week period. Including rockclimbing, sailing, day trips to the seaside, waterparks and more. The idea for the visit is to give the children a break from their daily life. The area they live in is a poor, rural area of Belarus, which has been greatly affected by the Chernobyl disaster, which has left the land poisoned. Bringing them to the UK gives the children a much needed break, giving them a small health boost and exposing them to a different culture. This is an experience they can carry with them for a lifetime, one which we hope installs a greater level of ambition for their own lives.
The health-related benefits of the visit includes an eye test and sometimes a dental check up. Some children arrive severely malnourished and go home looking much healthier and with a noticeable weight gain. We also financially support the families of the neediest children once they return home.
As a Charity, Chernobyl Children’s Lifeline’s reason for being is not just relief of poverty or providing holidays for poor children. It exists because of the difference we can make to the lives of children growing up with the long-term health effects of the Chernobyl Nuclear Disaster. These children are affected by the contamination, regardless of whether they are the son or daughter of a statesman or of the poorest farmer. Only time will eliminate Belarus and Ukraine of the problems caused by the Chernobyl disaster. However, poverty and ill health can be relieved and alleviated.
If you would like to read more detail about hosting, please continue to the next page.
Bob Crampton, former chairman of the CCLL Newark and Sherwood link
"We have brought over 80 children from Molotkovichi School to the UK over the years. To see them in their homes when we visit the village is enough to know that these children need help. We all have the satisfaction of seeing them enjoying themselves and adjusting to a healthier and more relaxed lifestyle."
Dr Zolovok, director of the children's hospital for the Soligorsk region:
"We are the hostages to the hazardous aftermath of radiation and the future of our very race is threatened with extinction, as our children, our gene pool is seriously ill. In the midst of this tragedy, we have been given hope by the people of the UK. Thank you for supporting the lives of our children."
Nick Rushby, host parent 2016 - present
"I find the whole experience to be extremely fun and rewarding. It becomes clear these children have seen more and have been forced to grow up earlier than you'd like to see. I believe the children visit at a crucial point in their childhood for us to expose them to more, and hopefully install a greater level of ambition within them."