Last week, numero sponsored a morning of bowling in support of the Friends of Chernobyl’s Children, a charity organisation to help children whose lives have been touched by an environmental disaster that occurred almost 30 years ago in Ukraine.
“The greatest international ecological disaster in the history of humanity”
On 26th April 1986, a reactor at the Chernobyl nuclear power station overheated, exploded and then went into melt-down. The impact of the explosion devastated a huge area around the plant with radioactive contamination. Today, through direct exposure from the atmosphere and indirect exposure through the food chain, children in the Chernobyl area are exposed to radiation 40 times above tolerable levels.
Due to this exposure, the incidence of thyroid cancer has swelled by 3,000 per cent, with 40,000 Belarusian children expected to contract the disease in the next 15 – 20 years. In fact, there are so many other radiation related health crises that for the first time in Belarusian history, the death rate exceeds the birth rate.
Scientists estimate that the disaster’s devastating aftermath will continue to cause suffering to children for another 24,000 years.
The Friends of Chernobyl’s Children (FOCC)
The FOCC was set up in Lancashire in 1994 and is committed to providing children impacted by the disaster with a better chance at life. Their ‘Month of Love’ scheme brings children who are most at risk due to disadvantaged home lives and inability to afford the right care, to stay with host families in the UK for one recuperative month every year for five years.
During their stay, the children that visit are provided with a full suitcase of clothes, toiletries and a year’s supply of vitamins to take back with them, along with being given a dental check and eye test. They are taken out on activity days, including bowling and to the zoo, and spend the evenings and weekends with their host families. It’s been proven that the care these children receive during their visits substantially strengthens their shattered immune systems and enables them to enjoy a healthier, fuller and longer life.
numero’s Financial Director, Laura Woodward found out about the scheme through her daughter Zoë, whose school the children come to visit one day every year. After contacting the Blackburn branch of the FOCC scheme, which currently adopts ten children (it had 22 at its peak), Laura agreed to host a child, and the family now has ten-year-old Alina staying with them.
Some of the team from numero visited Alina, along with nine of the other children staying in Accrington last Wednesday morning, and enjoyed a morning of bowling with them. FOCC is a fantastic cause that makes an extraordinary difference to these children’s lives. To find out more about their work, visit the Friends of Chernobyl’s Children website.