NEWS — 07 March 2014

Grace with one of the children at the centre

By Shelley Marsden

LONDON Rose Grace Kenny has just returned from Vesnova Children’s Mental Asylum in Belarus where she was volunteering with Adi Roche’s Chernobyl Children International.

Grace was accompanied on her trip to Vesnova, which is situated 170km from Chernobyl, the scene of the world’s worst nuclear disaster, by reigning Rose of Tralee Haley O’Sullivan and 16 other Roses from around the world, along with their escorts.

The 21 year old politics student told the Irish World: “I was so honoured to be a part of the Rose Chernobyl trip 2014. It was tough, and I knew very well that it was going to be one of the hardest things any of us would ever do. But I’m so happy we were able to go over there and give as much love as we could to these brave children, because they deserved every second of it”.

While in the children’s asylum, the Roses helped care for some of the 170 kids in the asylum who have a variety of physical and mental disabilities. Many children in the area are still being born with terrible deformities and illness as a result of the radiation from the Chernobyl disaster.

Roses with their Escorts preparing for the trip

Though the roses were in a low risk area of radiation, they were not allowed to eat local food, drink the water or even wash themselves while there. They spent four days carrying out day-to-day activities in the institution feeding, playing with the children and bringing a little fun into their lives. The 170 children at the centre receive very little if any one-to-one attention on a normal day.

The group of 18 Roses and Escorts from the Rose of Tralee, arrived in Belarus to work as volunteers with Adi Roche’s Chernobyl Children International (CCI). The Roses and Escorts, including reigning Rose of Tralee Haley O’Sullivan, will care for 170 children in

Accompanying the girls was CEO and Founder of CCI, Adi Roche, who praised the Rose of Tralee family for their ongoing support. “We will never cease to be inspired by the generosity and kindness of ‘Rose Ambassadors’ who reach out and touch the hearts of the forgotten children in the Chernobyl regions”, Ms Roche said.

In almost 28 years, CCI has delivered €96.5 million in medical and humanitarian aid to the Chernobyl regions of Belarus, Ukraine and Western Russian. Since 2001, volunteers and donors from Ireland have invested over €1.5 million Euro in upgrading the building of Vesnova, which has received Excellence Awards in Belarus for delivering high-quality medical care.

For more on Adi Roche’s Chernobyl Children International see www.chernobyl-international.com.

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