Svetlana and Ms. Tanji

Photo | March 6, 2012

(LEFT) Svetlana Rachkovskaja (age 17) was born with Down’s syndrome in the Mogilov region. Since Chernobyl, there has been an increase in the number of children with physical or mental handicaps, especially in Belarus, which was more heavily contaminated. Due to economic and social demands, many parents are unable to care for their children and are forced to surrender their children to state institutions. This institution in Veznova, located in the contaminated region of Mogilov, is supported by the Irish Chernobyl Children’s Project.

(RIGHT) Ms. Tanji is the principal of Minami Fukushima Nursery. Like many other areas in Fukushima City, her school was too contaminated for children. However, a community decontamination effort has allowed her to keep teaching her 165 students. The Japanese government sent the school a poster with advice for children on how to play safely outdoors. The children are advised to avoid water in gutters or on grass. ‘Happy’ children on the poster explain how they dust themselves off to make sure contamination doesn't come inside. This is the only assistance the Japanese government has provided to the nursery.