‘Real Christmas story’ as Chernobyl kids jet into Dublin
MORE than 30 children with special needs from Chernobyl have touched down in Dublin to spend Christmas in Ireland.
Santa was on hand at the airport with a group of carol singers to welcome the children, who had travelled from an orphanage in Belarus.
Many of the children come from troubled backgrounds while others have been abandoned by their parents, who were unable to cope with their illnesses and disabilities.
Chernobyl Children International voluntary chief executive Adi Roche said that she was delighted to welcome the children to Ireland after months of planning to get them here.
“I don’t care what happens to the turkey, the shopping or the Christmas pudding, because this is the real story of Christmas,” she said.
“It is about welcoming passers-by and opening our hearts and our homes,” she added.
The trip marks the first time that 10-year-old Yana Bordorvskaya has left her orphanage.
“Yana is blind, non-verbal, has scoliosis, epilepsy and autism,” said Ms Roche.
“Some of the ones from mental institutions are normally not given passports to travel but we have been fighting for that for years. It is very special for us to see the children with wheelchairs coming in because it is giving visibility to disability,” she added.
The children arrived as thousands of Irish people returned home for Christmas in what is one of the busiest weekends of the year at the airport.
Liam Byrne, from Coolock, welcomed his daughters Tara (15) and Emma (13) Bredemeier home from Germany for Christmas.
“It has been three months since I have seen them last, so I am delighted,” he said.
“I have everything ready and the presents bought, so can’t wait for Christmas now,” he added.