“The word nadeshda means hope in Russian. The Nadesha rehabilitation centre was founded to give hope to children living in towns and villages contaminated by the Chernobyl disaster,” says Greenpeace blogger Andrey Allakhverdov.
For the thousands of children still living in the contaminated areas of Belarus and going to the Nadeshda rehabilitation centre, learning about Chernobyl is more than a history lesson: it’s a class in survival.
According to Olga Sokolova, a doctor at Nadeshda: "We explain to them what they should do and what they shouldn't. What to eat and what not to eat, where to go and where not to go, how to take care of themselves."
With more than 40% of children in the contaminated regions affected by health problems ranging from asthma, diabetes and cancer or weak immune, respiratory and digestive systems, the reality of living under the spectre of Chernobyl is one that affects every aspect of their life.
The Nadezhda project gives real hope, and we have the right not to be forgotten.”
At Nadeshda, children receive some healthcare, but also learn how to live in a contaminated environment, and how to take responsibility for their health that, unjustly, will always be a problem.
The Nadeshda centre is an important place where survivors can come together. The Belarussian government is building a new nuclear reactor just 80kms away from the centre, but in the meantime the centre is is retrofitting its buildings so that it can be powered by 100% renewable energy.
"We explain to them what they should do and what they shouldn't. What to eat and what not to eat, where to go and where not to go, how to take care of themselves."
According to Diana Medri, a Chernobyl survivor and activist born in a contaminated region of Belarus 3 years after the explosion, “The new generations of children in particular continue to suffer the consequences of radioactivity, caused by a disaster committed by adults 30 years ago. Unfortunately this is a reality that cannot be erased now, but it must be remembered, and must be sustained and supported. The Nadezhda project gives real hope, and we have the right not to be forgotten."
For more information on the Nadeshda project, click here.
The Chernobyl disaster happened on 26 April 1986 at the Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant in the city of Pripyat, Ukraine. With the radiation effects affecting subsequent generations, it is hard to measure exactly the extent of the human impact. However, in the most contaminated regions, over 95% of children have at least one chronic illness. For more information, click here.
Photo credits: Getty Images