Children still live in fear and poverty

PUBLISHED: 11:23 16 April 2009 | UPDATED: 16:01 11 May 2010

Tracey Hart (left) and Nicola Dunklin (right) with Vlad Zyl and his Baboushka (grandma)

Tracey Hart (left) and Nicola Dunklin (right) with Vlad Zyl and his Baboushka (grandma)

FOUR women from Crow country returned from Belarus on Sunday night after another harrowing visit to see under-privileged children. The four women are members of the Friends of Chernobyl s Children, Melbourn branch who have been working hard to try and br

FOUR women from Crow country returned from Belarus on Sunday night after another harrowing visit to see under-privileged children.

The four women are members of the Friends of Chernobyl's Children, Melbourn branch who have been working hard to try and bring some respite from the extreme poverty children and their families are suffering in Belarus.

Nicola Dunklin, who co-ordinates the group, was joined on the four-day trip with fellow group members Jo Cheetham-Desmarais and Tracey Hart like Mrs Dunklin from Melbourn and Anne Bobeckyj from Meldreth.

The women travelled to the town of Mogilev to see the 18 children they had 'adopted' in their scheme to deliver vital supplies of medicines, vitamins, toiletries, clothing and cash to many of the destitute families with children.

"The standards of living there are nothing you would ever see here," said Mrs Dunklin.

"Nothing ever moves forward and people live in appalling conditions and live in hand me down clothes and very bad homes that have been in families for years and nothing done to them.

"We have been there many times before but nothing changes. Alcoholism is rife and at times it was very threatening. Many people just do not want to go to a doctor because they fear what they might have.

"Poverty is everywhere and it is very depressing but we are trying to do the best we can for a few children through our organisation."

Among the children the group visited was Vlad Bonich, the boy who was given life-saving surgery at Addenbrooke's Hospital during his visit in 2007. He remains well and is very happy.

In June, 18 children from Mogilev are due to visit families in Crow country for a month's holiday but the trip is in doubt because no agreement between the Government here and the Belarus authorities has been signed on a promise to return the children to their family homes.

The children missed out on their annual trip here last September when the Belarus authorities ruled out any more overseas visits for children after a child failed to return home from a visit to America.

"We are hoping everything is signed ready for the children to come here on June 21," added Mrs Dunklin.

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