While the Emmy-nominated HBO series “Chernobyl” has renewed Americans’ interest in the nuclear accident, children in Belarus and Ukraine are still living with the disaster’s fallout 33 years later.
In June about 40 Belarussian children arrived in North Carolina to stay with host families in Raleigh, Wake Forest, Zebulon, Youngsville, Louisburg, Spring Hope and Willow Spring. They will return home this week, after a summer of trips to the beach, doctor and dentist visits, shopping trips and a special birthday celebration at the Angus Barn.
Due to continuing radiation exposure, these children have a greater chance of developing illnesses such as immune disorders and cancer. According to Overflowing Hands, a Raleigh-based nonprofit, just six weeks away from the irradiated environment can add two years to the children’s lives.
For the last 13 summers, the group has brought children from Belarus to the U.S. Overflowing Hands’ Belarussian Outreach Spectacular Summer (BOSS) program has hosted more than 320 children since its inception.
The nonprofit supports vulnerable children from all over. Other outreach efforts from Overflowing Hands include partnering with organizations to provide daily needs to children in the U.S.; supporting youth in 14 communities in Nicaragua; sponsoring summer camps in the Bahamas; and children’s programs and youth development in Spain.
For more information about the program and how to support it, please visit overflowinghands.org.