The anniversary of the Chernobyl disaster will be marked this week by highlighting the plight of millions of people living in the aftermath of the catastrophe.
The Chernobyl Children’s Project International (CCPI) national Chernobyl week will raise awareness of the charity’s programmes to assist and empower communities in Belarus, Ukraine and Western Russia.
A Babushka Doll pin will also be sold to raise funds and honour and remember those surviving the social, economic and medical deprivation since the disaster.
Charity founder Adi Roche said after 23 years, the legacy of Chernobyl remains imprinted on the lives of the children and families who continue to suffer in the stricken regions of Belarus.
“Let us remember those who in lands far away from our own shores, bear the memory of the catastrophe that occurred on the fateful day of the 26 April, 1986,” said Ms Roche.
“We are appealing to people up and down the country to show their support for National Chernobyl Week by simply buying a pin or making a donation to allow us to expand and support our programmes.
“Every charity pin sold this week will help our cardiac surgical teams perform another operation, help employ another nurse, provide more hospice care for a terminally-ill child, assist in delivering life-giving surgery.”
The pin, on sale in shops, retail outlets, shopping malls, companies and schools nationwide from April 20 to 27, will symbolise the work of the charity in the Chernobyl regions.
Ms Roche said CCPI aims to raise over €1m to further develop the medical and nursing programmes, community development projects, and building and construction programmes
Ms Roche said the impact of the Chernobyl disaster lives on.
“In this present economic climate it is easy to become despondent and wonder if we even have enough for our own – charity does begin at home but it can also reach out to those far away,” she added.
“The people of Ireland continue to reach out to others, despite our difficulties. In fact because of our difficulties we know what it is to struggle and face the wind of economic storms.
“The children in the Chernobyl regions put their tiny hearts and hopes in our hands and one by one let us remember those who the rest of the world has forgotten.”