The 2016 Galway Rose, Rosie Burke, has just returned from an emotional volunteering trip to Belarus with Adi Roche and Chernobyl Children International. The 23-year-old vet from Ballinderreen, South Galway, was accompanied by 17 of her fellow Roses, including the 2016 Rose of Tralee Maggie McEldowny.
The Roses stayed in the Vesnova Children’s Mental Asylum where 170 of the young victims of the Chernobyl nuclear tragedy, which happened 30 years ago, have been institutionalised.
Many children are still being born with deformities and other illnesses directly or indirectly linked to the radiation from the nuclear accident.
The Roses spent their time working with the worst affected children, giving them one-to-one care and attention, which they would otherwise not get from one end of the day to the other.
Adi Roche, voluntary CEO of Chernobyl Children said, “This is the fifth year that the Rose of Tralee Festival has sent a delegation of volunteers over to Belarus and they bring such an energy and hearts full of love to the unfortunate children of Vesnova.
“They are such wonderful ambassadors for their families, their communities and to the Rose of Tralee Festival also.”