Ms Roche, peace campaigner and a former presidential candidate and Ms Hewson, Irish activist, businesswoman, and wife of U2 frontman Bono, have raised more than €100m for Chernobyl Children International.
The charity was established in response to the 1986 disaster at the Chernobyl nuclear power plant, 95km north of Kiev, near the Belarus border. More than 8m people continue to live in Chernobyl and contaminated areas of Belarus and Ukraine — many of them children.
Chernobyl Children International has brought around 25,000 children to Ireland for medical treatment and recuperation. The children stay with host families during the summer and the charity also flies surgeons to the Ukraine to carry out life-saving procedures on infants.
Ms Roche, from Clonmel, Co Tipperary, but now living in Cork with her husband Seán, established the charity in 1991 after doctors in Chernobyl appealed to anti-nuclear groups to help them get children out of the area. Two years later, Ms Hewson got involved with the charity and they have worked hard to keep it going during difficult financial years in 2012 and 2013 so it could continue with its life-saving programmes. The charity’s financial situation stabilised last year and while Ms Roche is a full-time executive, she works for the organisation on a voluntary basis.
The Ireland Fund of Monaco’s Princess Grace Humanitarian Award will be presented at a gala dinner in Monte Carlo.