CHILDREN at Belper School welcomed visitors with a completely different way of life last week.
A group of 20 youngsters from Korosten, a city in the north of the Ukraine, were guests at the John O’Gaunts Way school.
The city, which is about 80 miles north-west of the capital city Kiev, was affected by the horrific Chernobyl nuclear disaster of 1986.
People living in the city suffered from radioactive contamination after an explosion at a nuclear power plant on April 26, 1986.
Last Friday, July 22, the 20 Ukrainian youngsters took up an invitation from teacher Sandra Russell to spend a day in the technology department at the school.
Ann Walker, who is link secretary at the charity Chernobyl Children’s Lifeline, said: “They had a great day, making mugs, bags, kites and note books, not to mention the pizzas they made for their lunch!
“For these children, going to school was a day out of the ordinary, as they have no such facilities in their schools.”
Korosten is just outside the exclusion zone of the area affected by the Chernobyl disaster.
Ann said: “Even though the disaster was 25 years ago, the area is still highly contaminated with nuclear radiation and will be so for many years to come.
“In addition to the health issues associated with the disaster, the area has also suffered economically with widespread unemployment and a high cost of living.”
Belper School head teacher Trevor Harding met the children and was delighted to welcome them to town.
He said: “It was a pleasure to be able to help them.”
This is the second year that the children have been invited to Belper School. They were invited over by the Derby and Burton Link of the Chernobyl Children’s Lifeline charity.
Ann said: “Their four week holiday helps to detoxify their bodies from the effects that the nuclear radiation has, which in turn helps to boost their immune system for up to two years.”
The youngsters are staying with families in the local area, with half of them staying with families in Belper.
If you would like to know more about the work of the Chernobyl Children’s Lifeline charity, or if you would be interested in hosting children next summer, contact Ann for more details.
You can contact her by ringing 01773 829654, or by emailing her at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Alternatively, you can visit the website at www.ccll.org.uk/derby.
Between 1986 and 2000, more than 350,000 people were evacuated from areas of Belarus, Russia and Ukraine.