The hit TV drama Chernobyl may have brought the horrors of the disaster to our screens, but now the real-life victims of the nuclear plant explosion have visited Renfrewshire.
This morning ten children from the town of Borodianka, about 90 miles from Chernobyl were treated to a day of fun and games at the intu Braehead shopping and leisure destination.
The Chernobyl children, who are still affected by the fallout of radiation, are spending almost a month living with Scots families – thanks to the Forth Valley Branch of the Chernobyl Children’s Lifeline charity.
Photo: Children from the area affected by the Chernobyl disaster learned how to make sushi at the Yo! Sushi restaurant as part of their day-long visit to intu Braehead as guests of the centre
This is the fifth year the charity has been welcomed to the shopping centre and Soar at intu Braehead to give the youngsters some relief from the radiation-contaminated atmosphere and the poverty they experience.
They were given a day-long visit to intu Braehead and the activities included sushi-making classes, laser games, a trampoline session, a make-up session for the girls and a visit to the Apple store for the boys. The children also visited the centre’s McDonald’s burger restaurant for lunch.
The children’s teacher, Nina Kachalenko revealed she and some of the children visiting Scotland had seen the Chernobyl TV drama back home – although, the five-part series was combined into one film for broadcast in the Ukraine.
Nina said: “It was horrible to watch, but it’s important that the world knows the truth of what happened at Chernobyl and the risks involved with nuclear power plants.
“The film told us things we didn’t know.”
Photo: Children from the area affected by the Chernobyl disaster and their teacher Nina Kachalenko, enjoyed a day-long visit to intu Braehead as guests of the centre
Gail Macdonald, chairperson of Chernobyl Children’s Lifeline, Forth Valley Branch said: “When I watched the Chernobyl TV dramatisation I was transfixed. There was so much about the disaster that I had been told about being played out in front of my own eyes.
“For years I had been going round groups and organisation giving talks and trying to get support for the charity. It was probably hard for people to actually understand the horrors of the Chernobyl nuclear explosion were still being felt today with just my words trying to describe what is going on.
“But the TV show really brought home to people what had happened. It has had a huge impact on the support we are getting to bring the children to Scotland.
“Since the series was broadcast on TV we’ve had a lot more donations and offers of help. It’s done a huge amount for the charity.”
Gail added: “The horrifying effects of radiation leaks after the Chernobyl disaster more than 30 years ago are still being felt today and will be for future generations.
“Scientists say that of all the children born in these countries, 90 per cent will suffer some form of illness or health defect caused by radiation by the time they become an adult.”
“The children we bring over to Scotland not only have to deal with high levels of radioactive Caesium in their bodies, they are also living in abject poverty.
“While they are here, they are free from radiation, eating uncontaminated food and breathing clean air, which means their immune systems are boosted and they’ll have a better chance of survival when they go back home.”
Community development manager for intu Braehead, Lydia Brown said: “I’m sure the Chernobyl drama on TV brought home to everyone just how horrific the nuclear disaster was and still is to the people – especially children – in Ukraine.
“The charity does great work in helping the children overcome any health problems they may have. It’s the least we can do to invite them to intu Braehead and give them some fun and hopefully some great memories they can take home with them.”