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Making friends with the Children of Chernobyl for 21 years

Children from Chernobyl having fun during their visit to Longford in 2012. Photo: Michelle Ghee

Children from Chernobyl having fun during their visit to Longford in 2012. Photo: Michelle Ghee

In 2014, the Longford Friends of the Children of Chernobyl will celebrate their 21st year here in Longford.

Unfortunately, the group were unable to bring any of the children over this year, but plans are already underway for 17 children to visit Longford in 2014.

“At the moment we’re still recruiting host families and fundraising” explains Joan McLoughlin. The children spend 4 weeks in Longford between June and July. They spend two weeks with a host family before staying with another family for a further two weeks.

So far, a number of families have been confirmed, with more yet to be recruited to host the 17 children and 2 interpretors.

While here, the children partake in many different activities, both as a group and individually with their host family. The children are taken swimming once a week, and they take trips together throughout their stay.

“They love it here” Joan explains, adding that for many, it’s the only holiday they will get.

“They enjoy every little treat they get”.

Joan says that parents who had hosted children before found it “very rewarding” adding that it was nice to give something back.

While the children are already looking forward to their trip next summer, the Longford Friends of the Children of Chernobyl will continue to fundraise for the occasion.

It is hoped that a fundraising dance will be held in January, along with a number of coffee mornings and flag days over the coming months. A bagpack is also being organised for February.

If you are interested in helping out with fundraisers or becoming a host family, or if you would like more information on the organisation, contact Joan by email at joanfoley3@gmail.com or by phone on 085 8372144

 

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