We keep up with lovely stories
We are very happy… Happy that the children in our orphanages have a chance to welcome fantastic people from Ireland and not only.
A lovely girl from the UK, Jennifer McMahon, our regular volunteer for Cherven, shared with us her lovely memories about this summer trip:
This visit was 6 years since my first trip to Cherven orphanage. I love travelling to Belarus and working with the children. Seeing the small improvements year on year makes it even better.
This year in Cherven, I joined forces with another regular volunteer, Ruth Byrne, and a group of nursing students from Chernobyl Children’s Trust. Between us, we spent time with as many of the children as possible. We got the younger children out for supported walks in the sunshine, took the bed-bound children out in chairs, and put on lots of treats and activities for the full range of kids. This included a disco and cinema trip, a magician that came to Cherven and taking groups out for dinner and a picnic at the Lake.
Belarus has become a big part of my life and the children are always on my mind. Throughout the year I fundraise with friends and colleagues and have been really well supported with donations. This year I loved giving out clothes, donated by students and staff at a local secondary school, for a wedding we staged in the playground between Lilia and Andre – a long-term couple in the older groups. The young men and women were ever so pleased and proud in their shirts and dresses.
Getting to know the kids and their interests is a privilege. One evening I stumbled upon a group of the older boys watching the Dynamo Minsk V Salzberg match in the TV room. I enjoyed chatting football with them, even owning up to being a Chelsea supporter, and loved their reaction to the Dynamo Minsk goal – jumping up from their seats and high-fiving.
The most important thing to me is that we volunteers give care, attention, and a little love to the children, which, with the ratio of staff to children, the orphanage doesn’t have the resources to give. The extra treats and trips out are great, but the time spent with a child who otherwise would be sat in a wheelchair all-day, unstimulated, is invaluable. I am already missing Belarus and can’t help but begin to think about my next trip!
And we in the return thank Jennifer very much for all her help and attention. Looking forward to seeing you next year!