Chernobyl Children’s Lifeline

Words by Link Chair Elizabeth Parker

On Sunday 3rd December, we collected our Christmas group from Gatwick airport. The children who had never been to the UK before all said “England is lovely” as soon as they got off the plane!

This is going to be a very exciting month for the children who have not only never been away from home, but have never experienced Christmas before either.

After the children return home at the end of the month I will be leaving for Belarus for our Father Frost Program. As previous Christmas parcels have been returned or just haven’t arrived at all, a friend and I decided this year to go to Belarus to deliver them personally as the Belarusian equivalent to December 25th is January 7th. Having intended to just take presents in our personal luggage, we asked if anyone else would be interested in sending a present to a child who would receive nothing for Christmas and we were amazed and touched by the response.

We are now taking 150 presents to needy children and will deliver to 39 families in three days, as well as holding a party for the children who we will be unable to reach during that time. We will bring back photos and updates after the trip to share with everyone, who has so kindly contributed to this program.  A very big thanks must also go to those people who have sponsored part of the trip allowing us to be able to take this many presents to the children and also to leave gifts for those in the local hospital.

We are now looking towards the summer group visit and would ask anyone interested in hosting, who we have not yet spoken to, to get in touch now as we have to start processing the invitation to the authorities in Belarus by January 2018. The children will be with us for four weeks from July 1st-29th. All that is needed is a minimum of a mattress to sleep on and a loving home with people who care, financial circumstances are immaterial.

Age is not a barrier – single parents considered, families may or may not still have their own children at home. Hosts are able to follow their own occupation and interests as the children meet at least four days a week Monday-Friday from 8.30am to 4.30pm and helpers are on hand to collect or look after children at other times if needed.

We are very aware that there are now more charitable causes than ever all needing support. I would like to take this opportunity to thank everyone who supports us; you may think you only do a little but without you we could not survive.

May 2018 bring you everything you wish for.

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