The Chernobyl Children’s Life Line was founded in 1991 by Victor Mizzi M.B.E. After there were two explosions and a fire, in one of the reactors at the Chernobyl Nuclear Power Station on April 26th 1986 causing radio activity to pour into the surrounding environment for 10 days.
About 70% rained on Belarus, with the greatest proportion falling in the Gomel District. In the Ukraine, where the defunct Chernobyl reactor is there is still a significant amount of contamination.
The water and food are contaminated. Locals grow there own produce, but the ground is still contaminated and will be for many years to come. Only 5% of the children in the Chernobyl area are healthy. Children are particularly susceptible to radiation induced illnesses and many have Leukemia, cancer of the Thyroid, digestive problems and other cancers. Babies are still being born with deformities such as no arms, no eyes or with tumours.
However, since the organisation was set up, groups of children from the affected area have been visiting England for a four week holiday.
The Billericay Link
The Billericay Link was started 8 years ago by David Gladstone and he is still chairperson of this group. To date the group has hosted 150 children from either Belarus or the Ukraine. This year we have 12 children from the Ukraine – 6 boys and 6 girls along with their group leader Lara. The children arrived on 19th June and they are here for four weeks. The children are in pairs and they stay with host families. During the week, activities are organised for them and at the weekends the host families entertain them.
Western Road Church, Billericay, allows us the use of two rooms while the children are here and this is our main base where the children write their diaries every morning. We also have use of the Church at Queens Park, Billericay. We are very grateful to both churches for this.
At the beginning of the visit the children are taken to the Dentist and Optician and receive any work that is necessary, free of charge.
At the end of the months holiday the children have had fresh air, good food and fresh water; this helps to clear there system from some of the radiation and generally improves there health and life expectancy.
The Billericay link is always looking for Host families. The most important thing to show these children is a warm welcome into the homes of the Host families. The reward for all those involved with the project is to see the children develop their happiness and good health during their time in England.
All the Host families and people involved in organising and running the holiday are all volunteers and receive no financial help.
Get Involved or Contact the Link
Anyone who is interested in hosting or helping to raise money for future visits can contact David Gladstone on 01277 653462.
During the year we need to raise the funds to bring the children across from the Ukraine or Belarus, this cost in the region of £10,000. We have fund raising events during the year.
- There is a quiz Night on 24th September 2011 at the Canon Roche Centre, Billericay
- The Essex Police Choir is giving a Charity concert for us on 10th March 2012 at Emmanuel Church, Billericay.