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Pinsk Children's Hospice, Belarus

In the early morning hours of 26 April 1986, a testing error caused an explosion at the Chernobyl nuclear power station in northern Ukraine. During a radioactive fire that burned for 10 days, 190 tons of toxic materials were expelled in to the atmosphere. The wind blew 70% of the radioactive material into the neighbouring country of Belarus.

chernobyl childre, belarus

Even now, over 25 years since the accident, the effects of radiation are still being felt in Belarus with increased numbers of illnesses such as thyroid cancer and leukaemia, as well as miscarriages and birth defects. One sixth of Belarusian farmland remains contaminated.

Chernobyl Children Rye

Through Chernobyl Children’s Lifeline: Ashford, Romney Marsh and Rye Link, Caring and Sharing supports a children’s home hospice team in Pinsk, near the Belarus-Ukraine-Polish border. This is run by an administrator and her husband, two part time nurses, and a doctor, Anna, who visits each family once a month. Caring and Sharing contributes towards the running costs of the hospice. The team cares for children with terminal and life-limiting diseases, giving the whole family much needed psychological and emotional support.

The hospice has no day centre and cannot even afford an office. It receives no state funding, and apart from a few individual Belarusians, it has to rely entirely on foreign aid, most of it coming from the UK and an Italian charity. It does have a summer house (or dacha) about 20km from Pinsk, where families can stay or spend the day. They would desperately like to build a permanent hospice for the children. With help from Caring and Sharing, this may be possible.

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