Tuesday 20 November 2018

Warm welcome for Christmas visitors from Belarus

Vera Bahdanava, from Belarus, is greeted by Lorna White, from Malahide, Co Dublin, as she arrived with 29 others at Dublin Airport in a trip organised by the Chernobyl Children International charity. Photo: Colin Keegan
Vera Bahdanava, from Belarus, is greeted by Lorna White, from Malahide, Co Dublin, as she arrived with 29 others at Dublin Airport in a trip organised by the Chernobyl Children International charity. Photo: Colin Keegan

Alan O'Keeffe

Cheers and tears greeted 30 young people with special needs as their journey from Belarus to Ireland ended at Dublin Airport.

Irish families rushed forward to embrace the young arrivals who will celebrate Christmas in their homes in urban and rural areas across the country.

"This is what Christmas is all about - opening hearts and homes to these wonderful young people," said a smiling and tearful Adi Roche, chief executive of the Chernobyl Children International charity.

The young people live in institutions in Belarus but are enveloped in the love of Irish families for a much-needed break at Christmas and in the summer.

Trina Gilchriest and Peter Rooney, who live on the family farm at Oldtown, Co Dublin, welcomed Maryna Malinovskaya (14) back to Ireland. She has been coming to visit the couple for the past five years.

Also at the airport was Damien Meaney (38) from Bray. He works full-time for the Haven Partnership charity in Haiti but he comes home at Christmas and during the summer to host two young men, both in wheelchairs, who look forward to coming to Ireland to spend time with him and his extended family and friends.

Irish Independent

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