THE Chernobyl nuclear plant disaster has been forgotten by many, but some families are doing their bit for children who live in areas still affected by the radiation today.
Nine-year-old Sniazhana is from Cherikov, a village in Belarus which is still a radiation hot spot following the disaster in 1996.
She lives in a small one-room wooden house with her three older brothers and her parents. In winter the temperatures drop to as low as minus 40.
But this winter, Sniazhana, which means ‘snow flake’ in English, has spent four weeks in Cotton with the Wilson family.
She came to Suffolk during the summer as part of the Chernobyl Children Lifeline programme.
But the Wilson family decided that they would pay for Sniazhana to spend Christmas and her birthday, on December 30, with them in England.
“I wanted to do my bit, to give someone something better in life,” said Louise Wilson, who has been involved with the programme for three years.
“I wanted my children to have a tiny understanding about how lucky they are and how comfortable their lives are,” she added.
During her time here Sniazhana has enjoyed family trips out and going to the cinema. She also spent time at Finborough School with the Wilson children, 12-year-old Jack and Harry, five. She had a birthday party with the family and three other children from the programme, to celebrate turning nine on Thursday.
Sniazhana said she liked being in England and loved having her own bedroom, which is something she’s never had before. She heads home to Belarus on Sunday.
The Chernobyl Children Lifeline Mid Suffolk division raises money at its shop in Needham Market. For more information, go to www. ccllmidsuffolk.org.uk