Green Cross Family Clubs in Chernobyl Region: Helping 1 family at a time

The Green Cross Switzerland Family Clubs, part of the Social and Medical Care programme, are continuing to improve the health of families living in the Chernobyl affected area, one family at a time.

One such family who  received help through the Family Club is the Terestshenko family, who live in one of the most heavily radioactive areas in Belarus. The youngest child, Polina suffers from jaundice and a disturbance of the coronary-circulatory system while her ten-year-old brother, Roma, has an enlarged thyroid gland. The Chernobyl disaster is still threatening people’s health with children being the most endangered of all.

The Terestshenko family joined the Green Cross Family Club in Bragin a few months ago. “The Family Club has brought us many positive things. New friends, lots of suggestions and knowledge that we can apply in our everyday lives,” said Natalia Terestshenko.

In courses given by Green Cross, she has learned how to prepare radioactive foodstuffs. For example, the radionuclide content in potatoes and vegetables can be lowered by up to 80 percent through proper preparation, multiple washings and pickling in salt and vinegar water. At meetings, experts also inform members about questions pertaining to health and safety and medical examinations and rehabilitation stays are organised. According to a questionnaire among the members, 58 percent report an improvement in health since joining the Family Club and 93 percent participate regularly at the club meetings.

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