Log in

No account? Create an account

Belarus Comes to Ireland for Christmas

ChernobylБеларусь приходит в Ирландии на Рождество

Christmas  will be truly "joyful" for 60 children from Chernobyl who have again been given the chance to enjoy a special seasonal holiday in Ireland.

Ms Hewson (wife of U2 frontman Bono), Adi Roche, politician Liz O’Donnell  and President Michael D. Higgins welcomed  the group who had travelled for nearly 12 hours from Belarus.

"This reminds you what Christmas is all about, and the chaos that we can get involved in, this is the joyful side," said Ms Hewson. "It's a very feel-good story." It was an emotional occasion seeing the delight on the visitors' faces as they were greeted by the President of Ireland.

Dozens of families from around Ireland will host the children, many of whom come from mental institutions or orphanages, over the next three weeks.

"The host families are amazing. A lot of the people are just ordinary people, not nurses or physiotherapists or anything, they just seem to have a special gift," said Ms Hewson, who is a board member of Chernobyl Children International (CCI).

The families look forward to receiving these kids; it's a huge commitment as many of them have certain special needs so it can be difficult to mind them, but they love it.

It is also important to keep the Chernobyl issue alive. It's very easy for people to forget and think of it as a historic tragedy. But, in fact, the implications of the explosion are living on through the gene pool. Over 6,000 children are still born with cardiac defects."

CCI has spent more than €92m on humanitarian and medical aid programmes in Belarus, Ukraine and Russia since 1986.