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U3A Children of Chernobyl

Many members of Liphook U3A must have been disappointed hearing of a last minute change of speaker at their December monthly meeting. But Pauline Fitter from Haslemere soon dispelled any such disappointment as she entranced her audience by speaking, without notes, about “The Children of Chernobyl Lifeline” charity.

Having painted a picture of the suffering of these people of Belarus, who live in an environment so radioactive that dairy and meat industries are non-existent, disease so rampant among the generations, with each one getting worse, and the absolutely awful poverty. Pauline went on to tell how the charity brings youngsters to stay in the UK each year and how our clean atmosphere helps to send many of them home free of infection but, sadly, only for the infection to build up again at home.

Many of these children arrive sad and miserable because there is so little to be cheerful about in their homeland and how most return home happy and cheerful. The things they take home with them, like food and washing items, not available at home. How the charity helps to provide things for their schools and communal laundry services for the villagers. You just could not help feeling for these poor youngsters and what they suffer. It is so difficult to believe as this is something that gets very little publicity.

The talk concluded by saying that as these children come here for the sake of their health, there have been no visa requirements for these visits, but now HM Government is planning to impose an £86 per head visa charge which will increase the cost of these visits dramatically.

Those at the meeting were so impressed by this wonderful presentation that a collection pot to help swell the charity’s funds was soon overflowing and a total of £265 was raised. This is just short of the air fare to bring one child over here and was given voluntarily by the members. Pauline had made no requests for contributions.

They are also hoping to raise 100,000 signatures on an e-line petition to the government to get the visa question debated in Parliament, as no other European Governments have plans to introduce these charges. You can sign it by just visiting www.epetitions.direct.gov.uk then insert Children of Chernobyl in the search box and click search

This talk was so good that if there was a “Liphook U3A Speaker of the Year Award” then Pauline would be a very strong contender.

Mike Andrews Publicity1@liphooku3a.org.uk

Article posted on: 10 December 2012

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