Chernobyl kids charity appeals for Sheffield host families 

Chernobyl children visit Sheffield
Chernobyl children visit Sheffield

A Sheffield charity is appealing for families in the city to host children from Chernobyl for a holiday this summer.

Chernobyl Children’s Lifeline charity, which brings over a group of children from Belarus every year, has appealed for volunteers to host children for two to four weeks throughout the summer as part of a series of recuperation breaks, to give children a break from ongoing after-effects of the country’s famous radioactive explosion.

In 1986, at the Chernobyl nuclear plant in the former Soviet Union, a routine safety test on reactor number four resulted in the reactor exploding, blasting eight tonnes of highly radioactive fuel into the night sky.

High levels of radioactive pollution were spread across Ukraine and much of nearby Belarus, which took 70 per cent of the fallout from the power plant. Many Belarusian children still live in difficult circumstances, with a high rate of poverty, high unemployment and low salaries as well as continued anxiety regarding the after-effects of the radioactive explosion, with figures for cancer in children significantly higher in the worst affected areas.

The children brought to Sheffield will stay with host families and participate in a month of activities, organised by the charity, which raises money all year round for the children to have dental and sight treatment whilst they are here.

A Greenpeace report, released in 2017, stated: ‘People living in the affected areas in the region are still coming in daily contact with dangerously high levels of radiation. Thousands of children, even those born 30 years after Chernobyl, still have to drink radioactively contaminated milk on a daily basis.’

The charity’s link chair for Sheffield, Ben Dean, said: “We've been bringing children over to Sheffield since 2007 and we're always looking for local families who are happy to look after children whilst they're here, or to help out with activities throughout the days and weekends.

“You don’t need to worry about taking time off to host a child – myself and my wife work full time – and the charity has volunteers to help care for the children while our host families work. We now bring over around 15 children each year.”

Ema Ben at ben.dean2017@outlook.com if you’re interested in becoming a host family.