Chernobyl Children’s Lifeline

Words by Link Chair Elizabeth Parker

On Friday 29th December, we were up at 4.30am to get ready to take the children to the airport for their journey home. Unfortunately the flight was a really early one and we had to make allowances for the weather conditions and possible delays on the roads.

While all of the children were obviously looking forward to seeing their families again there were a few tears at the airports as we said goodbye to one of the best groups of children we have had visiting us. There was nothing other than lots of fun and great enjoyment during the month, both for the visiting children and the families who hosted them.

The children enjoyed everything, no matter how small and each new experience was greeted with appreciation and delight. These children came from some of the poorest families and I am sure we have given them memories that will last a lifetime.

We are now looking towards the summer group visit and would appeal to anyone interested in supporting our work to think about us now rather than waiting until the summer as we have to make our preparations a soon as possible in advance of the children’s arrival.

The children will be with us for four weeks from July 1st to 29th. Children will be aged between eight and 10. We are asking for donations of good quality second-hand clothing for the summer group for age range seven to 11 years. The children arrive with only the clothes they are wearing so both summer and winter clothes are appreciated.

For further information about our program or to donate clothes for the children please email or call me and I will be happy to provide further details. We also have a very active presence on Facebook both for our visiting children’s activities and for our charity shop based in Needham Market.

For those of you who have friends and families who may be interested in hosting but are not local to Stowmarket we do have links covering the areas of Cambridge and Norfolk and we would be happy to provide details of the local contacts for these areas and indeed any other area in the UK where we have representation.

Here we see the children when they arrived in Minsk airport. When they landed I got a phone call from Tanya, our interpreter, who put her phone on hands free and all the children shouted out loud, “we miss you all, come and see us in Belarus”.

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.

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