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Rose of Tralee Kirsten Mate Maher

Uncategorized: 14 Feb 2019

Rose of Tralee, Kirstin Mate Maher, prepares for ‘life changing experience’ to raise awareness for the ‘Grandchildren of Chernobyl’ living in institutions and orphanages

14 Feb 2019

“The Roses and Escorts bring with them a tiding of hope and goodwill” – Adi Roche 

This weekend the Rose of Tralee Kirsten Mate Maher, along with 21 fellow Roses and Escorts, will travel to Belarus to work as volunteers for children with special needs with Adi Roche’s Chernobyl Children International charity.

The 21-year-old, who represented Waterford at the Kerry festival, is hoping to use her platform as the International Rose of Tralee to raise awareness of the cross-generational effects of the Chernobyl disaster, as she volunteers in an institution for children with disabilities and special needs in the Chernobyl affected regions of Belarus.  She will be joined by an international group of Roses from USA, Canada, UK and 15 Irish counties.  A volunteer link-up between Chernobyl Children International and the Rose of Tralee International Festival has seen high skilled Rose Volunteers and their Rose Escorts travel to Belarus twice a year since 2011 to spend a week working in Vesnova Children’s Mental Institution.

Speaking of the upcoming visit to the Chernobyl affected
regions, Kirsten said:

“Roses bring a ray of sunshine into the lives of the people we meet and that what we hope to achieve when we arrive in Belarus in February.  Before and after the Rose of Tralee Festival last year, our Class of 2018 spoke at length about how we are looking forward to continuing the long and meaningful relationship that exists between the Rose of Tralee and Chernobyl Children’s International.”

Ahead of flying to Belarus to join the volunteer team and
oversee programme development, CCI Voluntary CEO Adi Roche paid tribute to the
Roses and Escorts who are taking time out of their busy schedules to volunteer;

“Kirsten and her Rose family are a highly skilled group of volunteers who will follow in their predecessors’ footsteps by making a profound impact.  For the past 9 years Chernobyl Children International have been so blessed by these volunteers’ immeasurable contributions.  They bring with them a tiding of hope and goodwill – a true embodiment of the values instilled by the Rose of Tralee festival.”

The group of 22 are all using their professional skills,
working alongside Vesnova’s permanent staff to stimulate the children and to
support them with the rehabilitative work they are undertaking in a bid to
improve their quality of life.  Many of
the Roses and Rose Escorts have medical, nursing, speech therapy and teaching
skills which will allow them to make an important contribution to the work
which is being carried out in the CCI supported Vesnova Children’s Mental
Institution where they will be spending the week.   Cork
Rose, Erinn O’Connell is a nurse who works in Cork University Hospital, as is
Monaghan Rose, Hannah Mooney.  Louth
Rose, AnnMarie Duffy, is a speech and language therapist and will be assessing
the children in need.    The
teachers within the group, will work directly with CCI’s education based
programmes, which work towards freeing children from the incarcerated and
segregated life they live in the institution.