Chernobyl kids see a different side of life with visit to Swords

by Sylvia Pownall

A group of young adults from Chernobyl were invited to Specsavers during their annual summer visit to have their hearing and eyes tested.

The Swords branch played host to Ksenia, Denis and Sasha from the Vesnova Orphanage in Belarus who are spending time here as respite from institutional life back home.

Denis and Sasha first visited the store in 2018 where they were provided with hearing aids.

On this visit, Denis’ aid was updated and he was given a remote control for the volume as well as cleaning equipment and batteries for one year.

Sasha’s hearing aids were also updated to ensure they work to their full ability.

Ksenia had an eye test and was provided with glasses of her choice, fitted with the appropriate lenses to aid her vision.

Denis and Sasha also received eye tests and it was discovered they too needed glasses, which were provided for them by Specsavers Swords.

Hearing aid expert at the Swords store Lynn Byrne said: “The chance to not only provide these services but to also conduct check-ups on hearing aids prescribed last year is terrific.

“It’s great to see the improvements these have made to their quality of life.”

Volunteers with Adi Roche’s Chernobyl Children International (CCI) are hosting the young adults who have been on numerous days out since their arrival.

One of the highlights was the Flavours of Fingal county show at Newbridge House & Farm in Donabate, where the rest and recuperation group enjoyed every minute of their weekend.

A CCI spokesperson said: “Our young adults got to see lots of animals, take part in many events from dancing to cycling to ziplining, and listen to some great musical entertainment.

“We met so many kind people along the way. Everyone was amazing.”

CCI was founded by Adi Roche in 1991 to alleviate suffering and protect generations of children and young adults affected by the Chernobyl disaster.

In the past 28 years, more than 25,000 children have visited Ireland on holiday and have received optical, dental and medical treatment.

Specsavers Swords store director Matthew Richards said it was a pleasure to welcome the young adults from Belarus once again.

He added: “Regular hearing and eye checks are a very important part of their healthcare routine. We jumped at the chance to provide these services which are not available to them at home.”

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