Twenty eight years after the Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant accident in Ukraine families there are still paying the price, a team from Helpston discovered during a visit.
As one of the most contaminated regions in the country, children in Belarus continue to have nose bleeds and women struggle to have babies.
Cecilia Hammond, a member of the Friends of Chernobyl’s Children said: “We saw desperate family after desperate family with children living in appalling circumstances.
“However, it was heartening to see the difference in the families that we were supporting.”
The Helpston & District branch of the charity works with the children and families who live in the Mogilev region and Krichev near the Russian border - both areas contaminated by the Chernobyl disaster.
Cecilia, along with Gill Robinson and Morag Sweeney visited children in some 40 families whom the charity has been supporting.
Among them were Yegor, aged two, whose father very recently died and whose grandmother has been bed bound for two years after suffering a stroke, and eight-year-old Sasha, who lives in the highly contaminated Slavgarod region.
Cecilia said: “I know every child in our project whose families I personally visit. I know their mothers, their fathers, their siblings and their grannies.
“I take a height measurement for every child so that we can send clothes that fit the sibling as well as the children that come here.
“One of the constant features in most homes we visit are empty fridges. So we take goody bags containing several weeks of staples as well as fresh meat and cheeses for the families.”
The team from Helpston visit Belarus every year and also provide the children with clothes, shoes, winter coat and boots and school uniforms and stationery.
The children are also hosted with families in Peterborough, Stamford and Helpston over a four week period to give them a break. While here they meet children from schools in the area and take part in fun activities.
The charity has no shortage of host families prepared to take in the children, but they still need more sponsorships to cover the cost of the £500 needed to pay for each child.
The next children’s visit is in June and two fund-raising activities have been planned - a sponsored swim on Sunday, March 16 and 23 from 2-4pm at Deeping Leisure Centre; and Spring fair and afternoon tea on Saturday, March 29,from 1.30-4.30pm at Werrington Village Centre, in Church Street, Werrington.
For a sponsor form for the swim and for more details about the charity and its fundraising activities call 07779 264591.
To donate go to www.justgiving.com/helpstonchernobyl2014