Saturday, June 29, 2019

Helping the children of Chernobyl

A charity in Raleigh, North Carolina, brings children who are suffering from the aftereffects of the Chernobyl nuclear power plant explosion 33 years ago in the Ukraine to the United States each year for a summer of fun. This year more than 60 Belarusian kids got access to free health care, pediatrician appointments and dental work, plus a chance to breath clean air while living with host families in Raleigh for six weeks. Most are from poverty-stricken families in Belarus.

The charity, known as Overflowing Hands, has been running for 13 years. One of the interns, Nastiya Paprauka, attended the program herself for four years. Now 19, she works as a chaperone. Speaking of Raleigh, she said, "The nature is beautiful and the people are kind." Eleven years ago, founder Chandler Ellis realized the children had never celebrated birthdays. Many did not know when their birthday was. One of Ellis' friends owns the Angus Barn Restaurant, and hosts a group birthday party for the children each summer. The kids enjoy pony rides, inflatables, water games and food, all courtesy of the community.

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