SOS Children in Belarus

Sponsorship Locations in SOS Children in Belarus

Apart from one other small admin office run by another, SOS Children is the only major NGO still working in Belarus on the aftermath from Chernobyl.

Every year, over 200 children from the area around Chernobyl receive treatment for radiation damage
at the SOS Social Centre, with priority given to children from very poor or single-parent families While they are being treated, their parents can stay with them and depending on the treatment this could be a period of up to eight weeks. As well as medical treatment, the centre offers remedial education and a wide range of chances for children to be children.

Belarus was severely affected by the Chernobyl nuclear accident in 1986. Large areas were contaminated and many people, particularly children, developed cancer and other diseases related to radio-active exposure. It was for this reason that SOS Childrens Villages decided to build a village which as well as providing a home for destitute children, would also include a treatment centre for children suffering from the effects of radiation.

In 1991 the state government gave SOS Childrens Charity a plot of land in Borowljany about 15 miles north east of the capital Minsk. The village has thirteen family houses which are home to 100 children. A youth house has been established in Minsk for the older children who have grown up in the village and are on the verge of independence.

A second SOS Children's Village was opened in 2004 in Marina Gorka, about 25 miles from Minsk and consists of 12 family houses. There is also an SOS Social Centre that runs a Family Strengthening Programme for 700 vulnerable children and their families in the local community.

The present borders of Belarus date from 1939, when Stalin annexed eastern Poland. The country was occupied between 1941 and 1944, when it lost 2.2 million people, including most of its large Jewish population. It became independent in 1991, following the collapse of the Soviet Union.

Despite recent economic growth, poverty remains widespread, affecting at least 30 per cent of the population particularly families with children, families with low levels of education and rural families. The average per capita daily income is less than £46.50 in the UK. The increasing number of social orphans is o of the most worrying manifestations of the social and economic crisis gripping the country. Child abandonment, neglect and abuse are all rising, with a leading cause being alcoholism among parents.

Local Contact in Belarus

SOS Children's Village Association Belarus,
220050 Minsk,

tel +375/17/227 82 28 e-mail

Belarus Child Sponsorship

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