Rest & Recuperation
Building & Reconstruction
In the Chernobyl regions there are hundreds of orphanages and institutions where thousands of children live lonely forgotten lives. Chernobyl Children International works to support children in institutions across Belarus to regain their right to a family life and to end the institutionalisation of children in conjunction with Belarusian authorities.
Homes of Hope
“I’ve found a new family, where I feel very happy. My grey and dull days became bright and sunny again! I know that all together we have our future. I love my mom Natasha and my dad, Sergei. I believe the main gift in life is family.”
Katya ‘Homes of Hope’ resident.
The “Homes of Hope” Programme removes children from bleak, custodial state orphanages and shelters and places them in loving homes. Through this programme, we are endeavouring to break the cycle of poverty and abandonment in Belarus and give children a chance to live in loving homes with a real family.
CCI holds the deeds of all properties with written legal agreement between the foster families and the organisation so that at the end of 15 years, the property is gifted to the family in recognition of their extraordinary contribution to protecting vulnerable children.
Through the purchasing of houses, CCI places up to 10 previously institutionalised children into each home. CCI has purchased 30 houses for our ‘Homes of Hope’ programme which have provided over 300 children with a family home of their own. (The equivalent of closing two orphanages).
CCI pioneered the historic Independent Living Programme in 2009 for teenagers who had spent most of their young lives in Vesnova Children’s Mental Asylum. These children, once they reach the age of 18 years, are usually moved onto Adult Mental Asylums, but now through the intervention of CCI, we can at last give these young girls and boys a home of their own and they can live independently of institutional care.
Six new homes were built for young male adults followed by in October 2011 a new Girls Independent Living home for 12 girls in Belarus. CCI has refurbished and equipped a building on the grounds of Vesnova and turned it into a life skills training workshop. CCI employs a teacher to implement life-skills training and vocational workshops for young adults in the Independent Living Programme. These young adults are given vocational opportunities to equip them in the long-term to avail of employment opportunities in their local communities.
This programme enables young adults, boys and girls to move into the independent living house and escape a future of adult institutions, turning a disaster into a bright future for these extraordinary young adults.
Our Next Step
Our next step for de-institutionalisation is to move older young adults into a ‘step down’ unit on site whereby we would slowly introduce them to living independently, with the ultimate aim being that these young adults will be actively living and working in the community.
We currently have one Community House in Glusk, Belarus, where several young adults, all of whom grew up in nearby institutions can now live a more independent life, in the company of a carer. The young men have learned to cook, clean and take care of their home, in a safe environment and engage in the local community.
Rest and Recuperation
Chernobyl Children International offers programmes designed to give sick children the respite they need from the radioactive environment in which they are forced to live. Volunteer host families throughout Ireland have given more than 25,500 children the opportunity to enjoy a recuperative stay away from the debilitating environment in which they live.
The success of this, our oldest programme, is due to the commitment and goodwill of host families throughout Ireland who receive these children into warm and loving home environments.
Being able to escape a radioactive, highly toxic environment for just a few weeks extends each child’s life by an estimated two years, and reduces their contamination levels by 30 to 50 percent. Just as important, these children return to their communities with the comforting knowledge that the outside world has not forgotten about them.
As more and more volunteers have opened their arms to these children over the years, the initiative has gone from strength to strength, becoming the inspiration for similar programmes throughout the world.
Building and Reconstruction
The effects of the Chernobyl nuclear disaster on the Belarusian economy prevented building and repair efforts, leaving many orphanages and Day-Care Centres poorly equipped, unsanitary and unable to deliver the services the community needed. Working closely with local Ministries and organisations, the CCI Building and Construction Programme refurbished and upgraded vital institutions, restoring them to full functionality and safety standards. CCI’s reconstruction programmes include Vesnova Children’s Mental Asylum, Independent Living Units, ‘Homes of Hope’, maintenance and refurbishment of our housing stock, Soltanovka Adult Mental Asylum, Kharkiv Centre of Cardiac Surgery and Community Day Care Centres across Belarus.
Our Community Day-Care Centres provide vital social, economic, medical and educational facilities, and community-based self-help programmes to impoverished communities in Belarus. Each centre provides support and services to as many as 67,000 people per centre.