Laura Ward engages with one of the children at the Vesnova Children’s Mental Asylum in Belarus.
Longford Rose, Laura Ward from Edgeworthstown, has just returned from what she describes as “an emotional” volunteering trip to an orphanage in Belarus with Adi Roche’s Chernobyl Children International.
Laura, a Psychology student, accompanied the 2017 Rose of Tralee Jennifer Byrne, Adi Roche and 26 fellow Roses for a week of caring for the children in Vesnova Children’s Mental Asylum, where children with serious deformities and illnesses are sent by the country’s authorities.
The Roses’ mission was to provide one to one attention to the children who are left alone for most of the day every day.
In fact it’s only at feeding and nappy changes time that there is human contact with the children.
Roses experienced harrowing scenes at the orphanage but managed to bring an air of happiness to many of the children and they also succeeded in creating lots of excitement in many of the units within the orphanage.
While there, Laura was also shown some of the projects that Adi Roche is responsible for, including ‘Homes of Hope’ where healthier children are fostered to a loving family instead of being admitted to orphanages or other institutions.
Others are often included in Community Care programs where, with Ms Roche’s and the people of Ireland’s help, they manage to assist parents to look after their own sick children at home instead of giving them up to an orphanage.
“The trip to Belarus has been a life changing experience and incredibly emotional,” Laura concluded.