My mission to help Chernobyl children

PUBLISHED: 12:32 27 April 2006 | UPDATED: 14:40 12 May 2010

Nicola Dunklin working to help the children of Chernobyl

Nicola Dunklin working to help the children of Chernobyl

YESTERDAY (Wednesday) marked the 20th anniversary of the world s worst nuclear power accident – Chernobyl. The accident released 190 tons of highly radioactive waste material into the atmosphere, exposing the people of Chernobyl to radioactivity 90 times

YESTERDAY (Wednesday) marked the 20th anniversary of the world's worst nuclear power accident - Chernobyl.

The accident released 190 tons of highly radioactive waste material into the atmosphere, exposing the people of Chernobyl to radioactivity 90 times greater than that from the explosion of the Hiroshima atomic bomb - with children being the most affected.

The news coverage haunted one woman from Melbourn so much that she has made it her lifelong ambition to do what she can to help those children.

Nicola Dunklin, who is a teaching assistant at Melbourn Village College, is now trying to set up a South Cambridgeshire branch of the charity, Friends of Chernobyl Children (FOCC).

She said: "I have always wanted to have a child over from Chernobyl, but as there is no FOCC branch in the area, I haven't been able to.

"So I thought, why not go about setting up a branch so I can help a child?"

The charity organises daily activities, so that working families can take part as hosts.

It also provides interpreters who travel with the children and are on 24 hour call.

Nicola is now trying to find like-minded people who would like to know more about becoming host families.

She said: "I've had an amazing response so far.

"By having a child over here just for four weeks, you can help to extend their life expectancy by two years, as everything they eat in Russia is contaminated.

"They'll arrive with nothing, so everyone always tries to send them back with as much as they can cram in!

"People I've spoken to who have been host families have said that all they want to do is eat fruit, which is a refreshing change from children wanting sweets!"

Nicola is holding a presentation evening next Thursday at Melbourn Village College with the founder and director of FOCC, Olwyn Keogh.

She said: "In all my life, all I've ever wanted to do is make a difference and know I've done some good.

"It's such a small thing to do for such a big return.

"How else can you help to extend a child's life by two years?"

- Anyone who would like to become involved should contact Nicola on 01763 220651.

To attend the evening, which starts at 7.30pm, contact Nicola on the above number or the school on 01763 223400, or by emailing office@mvc.org.uk.

- For more information on FOCC, visit the website at www.focc.org.uk.

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