Chernobyl Children’s Project marks 20 years since first Solihull Group arrival
On Saturday (20 July), twelve 13 and 14-year-olds arrived in Solihull from Belarus, accompanied by a doctor, interpreter and a student.
They have all suffered various cancers including; thyroid, sarcoma, leukemia, kidney, neuroblastoma and lymphoma, and have been in remission for between 18 months to 3 years.
The children, who have never been abroad before, will stay for the first fortnight in pairs with local host families.
On 3rd August they will move together to residential accommodation for a further two weeks, where more volunteers will cook, wash, clean, drive and accompany them on many more days out.
A spokesperson said: “This year marks 20 years since the first Chernobyl Children’s Project group arrived in Solihull for a 4 week break.
“Since 1999 almost 400 children have enjoyed a holiday here, whilst fresh air and healthy uncontaminated food boosts their damaged immune systems.
“It is thanks to the people of Solihull who open their hearts and homes and the wonderful support for CCP Solihull Group of local; people, organizations and companies.
“This allows us to invite a new group each summer and to organize an amazing plan of trips and activities, so the 4 weeks are filled with fun and the group of children can enjoy the healthiest, happiest time of their lives.”
Solihull Group co-ordinater Kath Ruane said “The children who visit Solihull are incredible, they arrive having never met before and can be quite shy and nervous, some having not yet returned to school following months or years of treatment and recovery.
“We hosted children for 5 years and have since co-ordinated for the last 7 years.
“Each year I’m amazed by the wonderful children who visit, they are interested in and enjoy everything they do and are so polite and grateful for everything that the wonderful host families and volunteers do for them.
“Fresh air and exercise, gives an enormous boost to their health, confidence and happiness and they return home after 4 weeks having made close friendships and with memories to treasure for the rest of their lives.”
CCP (Chernobyl Children’s Project (UK) began in Glossop in 1995, many local groups sprang up around the country as well as across Europe, there are now only 5 local groups in the UK. However, after 20 years, Solihull Group remain a very strong and active group.
A spokesperson added: “The recent television drama ‘Chernobyl’ has increased interest in CCP – as people now have a better understanding of the lasting effects of the Chernobyl disaster and why these children so deserve and need our help.
“Both the 2019 Belarussian group and CCP members are looking forward to a wonderful month together.”
For more information about the Chernobyl Children’s Project: https://www.chernobyl-children.org.uk