Chernobyl Children's Life Line 2017

We continue to sponsor events for the children visiting from Belarus, who have been affected by the fallout from the Chernobyl disaster .

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Belarus To Billericay - Making  A Difference

For the last four years, the Rotary Club of Billericay has supported the local branch of the Chernobyl Children’s Lifeline, a charity which brings twelve children here each year from the areas of Belarus and Ukraine where the population’s lives were forever changed by nuclear disaster of April 26, 1986, over 31 years ago.

Although they live outside the exclusion zone, these innocent children live in areas contaminated by the radiation from Chernobyl.  It has been calculated that each visit of four weeks gives the children another two years of life! 

This year, those children come from Belarus, from the region around Gomol. Those selected to come have been identified as those most in need by community workers in the region. Six boys and six girls, all around nine or ten years of age.  This year’s leader is Larysa Pratsko. This is Larysa’s first visit to Billericay, and she travelled here with the children.  A full Programme awaited the children while they are here.

Zoo Visit

To kick things off, as with each visit previously, the children were taken for a fun day at Tropical Wings Zoo in South Woodham Ferrers,  invited to pick out some clothes for themselves and their siblings at a Clothes Bank. It’s not all fun, though, as in this first week, the children visit the optician and the dentist. The children come from poor families, which may mean that  a visit to the dentist or optician  is not possible.  With the eye tests, fillings and extractions out of the way, the remaining programme is full of fun and adventure. They will have PLENTY of stories to tell their families, friends and schoolmates back in Ukraine.

We started off by joining the “Welcome Party and Barbecue” at Stockbrook Nursery on June 17, for the children, the hosting families and the sponsors.  The club was represented by President Peter Greene.

Hamburgers and Hot Dogs

The evening starts with the children having the run of the play areas bouncing away on the trampolines, hurtling along the aerial zip-wires, or using the bouncy castle. These are young children, so communication with their hosts’ children is a challenge, but somehow, they manage! 

The fun is followed by the barbecue and a choice of hamburgers and hot-dogs (and vegetarian alternatives) as well as the healthier option of salads.  Seconds?  You bet?  Soon almost all the food was gone.  Finally a choice of desserts to tempt everybody’s sweet tooth.

A final run on the trampolines and other equipment and it was time to go home.

What a great time was had by all.

Exciting times

Our contribution to the rest of the visit was by sponsoring the Bowling and Roller Blading on June 16, and the Rope Runners visit on July 3.  The Rope Runners is a particular favourite of the visitors, with the children revfelling in the challenges of high rope work, safely tethered by harnesses and safety ropes of course.  See the photos above.

The visit ended with the traditional farewell party at the community centre in Queens Park.  After the 40 minute video of the visit, thanks to Nick Lang, the children and guests tucked into pizzas, sausage rolls, snacks and crisps, plus a selection of soft drinks.  They had a lot of fun and entertained the audience of hosts, helpers and sponsors. Their dancing to the disco was something to see!!

We wish all the children the best for the future.