A very special group of 120 children from the Chernobyl affected regions of Belarus will fly into Shannon Airport on Tuesday next June 25 with Adi Roche’s Chernobyl Children International, as part of a long-standing efforts of Irish host families to prolong their lives against the ongoing effects of the world’s worst nuclear accident.
Among this group is Misha Runtsevich; a very special young man who has been the centre of a ground-breaking human rights victory in Belarus in recent months.
Misha is the first person who has progressed through all stages of the Irish Charity’s Restoration of Rights Programme, which has a strong focus on education and skill-building, and in April was the first person to earn the right to live an independent life outside an institution.
He has since moved out of the institution, and has secured an apartment and employment nearby, enabling him to be a fully engaged and appreciated member of his local community.
Misha has travelled to the loving Coleman family in Castlebar, Co Mayo, on CCI’s Rest and Recuperation since 2008 and the family are eagerly awaiting his arrival, to celebrate his historic achievement.
Misha will be accompanied by some 25 children and young adults from the Chernobyl affected regions of Belarus, for a health-boosting stay with families within the Castlebar community.
Misha was abandoned at birth because he was born with a cleft palate and hare lip. He came into CCI’s care when it began to work in Vesnova Children’s Mental Asylum, where he was placed as a child.
CCI worked directly with the director of Vesnova and the Department of Social Protection in Mogilev to secure a place for Misha in the community house in Glusk, from which he has demonstrated his ability to live independently within the community.
Misha is a skilled cobbler and his strong work ethic has enabled him to grow a business in his local town, which will provide him with an independent income to support himself.
His summer in Mayo will give him a much-needed break following years of hard-work to have his freedom granted, and will help him prepare for a full life of independence when he returns in one month.