Caring for the children of Chernobyl

PUBLISHED: 15:17 04 July 2007 | UPDATED: 12:35 04 May 2010

The children get busy with arts and crafts

The children get busy with arts and crafts

FAMILIES across East Cambridgeshire have opened their homes to provide care for the children of Chernobyl for the second time in a year. Ten girls, aged between 10 and 11, from the areas of Belarus in eastern Europe affected by the Chernobyl nuclear power

FAMILIES across East Cambridgeshire have opened their homes to provide care for the children of Chernobyl for the second time in a year.

Ten girls, aged between 10 and 11, from the areas of Belarus in eastern Europe affected by the Chernobyl nuclear power plant explosion will spend a month staying in the area.

The trip gives the youngsters the opportunity to stay in an environment free from radiation and eat and drink uncontaminated food and water, building up their immune systems.

All the children taking part in the visit have been chosen because they have had cancer or are in remission after treatment and it is estimated that their stay could increase their life expectancy by up to two years.

The visit has been organised by the East Cambridgeshire branch of the Chernobyl Children Life Line which has helped over 150 children since it was formed almost 10 years ago.

Maria Shelton, of Queen Adelaide, who is a branch fund said: "Four families are hosting for the first time this trip, and it is always a major worry that the children speak very little English and none of us speak Russian, but that rarely leads to difficulties. You can get by very easily with signs, nods and smiles, and the children pick up English very quickly.

"The main problem is getting the children used to eating the variety of food that we are used to every day; they have so little in Belarus and some foods are contaminated with radiation."

During their stay the youngsters will be taken on trips to Ely Cathedral, Willers Mill Wildlife Park, bowling in Newmarket, a river trip on the Ouse, Centerparcs and Legoland.

Anyone wanting to find out more about the work of the Chernobyl Children Life Line, about becoming a host family for a future visit or helping to raise funds for the charity can contact Maria Shelton tel. 01353 659351 or e-mail mm.Shelton@btinternet.com

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