SPENDING just four short weeks in Portsmouth increases these children’s lives by two years.
For these 12 children, visiting England is not just about sight-seeing, it’s about rest and recuperation from the effects of the Chernobyl disaster, which can still be felt 29 years on.
The nuclear plant exploded on April 26, 1986 and killed 31 people. The fallout left long-term side effects such as cancer and deformities, which are still felt in Ukraine and Belarus.
The trip is organised by the Portsmouth and Hayling Island Chernobyl Children’s Life Line charity, run by chairwoman Marian Stapley, from Paulsgrove.
She said: ‘Being here for four weeks’ respite, they build up an immune system, living in the affected areas they don’t have an immune system as everything is contaminated. Being here enables them to build up an immune system to ward off any coughs and colds and makes them stronger.’
The 12 children from Borodyanka, Ukraine are all aged from 11 to 12 and they have been on a host of fun, educational and health boosting trips.
They are two weeks into their stay and have visited Portsmouth Historic Dockyard, Northney Farm on Hayling Island, had trips to the dentists and doctors, and much more.
Yesterday the group spent the day at Fareham Fire Station, where firemen and police showed them all about the emergency services.
Watch manager Simon Whelan said: ‘We get lots out of seeing the smiles on the children’s faces and they get a lot out of it, as well as having a fun day too.’
Nina Kachalenko, group leader, said: ‘It has been brilliant.
‘All the children have enjoyed it very much.’
The children were due to visit Paultons Park today.
These are the children who are staying with seven host families across the Portsmouth area:
- Karyna Artemova
- Sofia Golovchyts
- Alina Ganaga
- Riegina Avakian
- Karyna Kucheriavenko
- Katia Zhuk
- Dmytro Bratashchuk
- Kyryl Yurchuk
- Ivan Kovalov
- Nazariy Pasternak
- Oleksiy Zhezhera
- Vladyslav Bozhenko
To get in touch with the Portsmouth branch of the Chernobyl Children’s Life Line email firstname.lastname@example.org.