The neglected children of belarus
Alice Shiner and Delanjathan Devakumar went to often forgotten Belarus to see what is being done to help the children born in the fallout of the Chernobyl disaster
In the summer of 2001, a group of eight British medical students joined a party of volunteers to help run a summer camp in Belarus. The camp was for children with mental and physical disabilities. It was organised by a charity that has been working with these disadvantaged children—the Chernobyl Children's Project.
Before we became involved with the charity, few of us had heard of Belarus. It is a country with 10 million inhabitants and is a little smaller than Britain. It lies in relative obscurity in the eastern European belt of the former Soviet states, all of which gained independence at the end of the cold war in 1991.
You need to go back centuries in order to recall a time when Belarus could be regarded as a prosperous state. Since then, invasion by the Poles, two world wars, and the work of Soviet planners have left it a