Charity: schools campaign

A LEADING Irish children's charity is spearheading a campaign to get greater cooperation between hundreds of organisations across Europe in the run up the 25th anniversary of the Chernobyl nuclear disaster.

The Chernobyl Children's Trust (CCT), which has just launched its schools campaign, has said it is now time to focus the attention of a large number of organisations with the same central purpose.

"We have been trying to set up a network and we are having a formal meeting in November in Dortmund," said chairman Simon Walsh.

"In every European country there are a number of Chernobyl organisations. Even in Ireland there are more than 40 but there is no coordination and in a lot of places you even get duplication."

Walsh said that almost quarter of a century after the nuclear reactor exploded in Belarus, the main challenge now is to maintain awareness among youngsters, many of whom may not have heard of the tragedy.

The CCT has now launched its nationwide schools
dress-down day, whereby students will contribute €2 each for a non-uniform day or other event.

While much time has passed since the events of 26 April 1986, life is still difficult for many living in the country.

"There is a huge social divide. Some people have the money to buy things but anything important is hugely expensive," said Walsh.

Details of the CCT's schools campaign to help maintain awareness of the situation can be found at www.chernobyl