Hosting a child from chernobyl, has anyone done it?

(11 Posts)
imnot27 Thu 19-Oct-06 12:47:00

We're thinking of hosting a child from Belarus next year, has anyone got any experiences or info? Thanks in advance!

Marina Thu 19-Oct-06 12:53:37

Hi, JanH, a usually regular poster, is actively involved with this project imnot27. You need to get in touch with her using the Contact Another Talker link at the the top of the page. Maybe she can help.
She hasn't posted masses about her experiences but I get the impression it is very, very worthwhile for the children's sakes

JanH Thu 19-Oct-06 12:56:03

<waves to marina>

Hi, imnot27 (I'm not either ) - yes, we have been hosting for the last few years (I forget how many) through the local branch of Friends of Chernobyl's Children. What would you like to know first?

yorkshirelass79 Thu 19-Oct-06 12:57:37

Message withdrawn

imnot27 Thu 19-Oct-06 13:15:27

Hello, thanks everyone, JanH I just don't know very much about it really. I have looked on a couple of websites, there is a group called Sunflowers in Plymouth which would be nearest us, do you know of them. I suppose I'm wondering,- when you need to get involved (timewise), what effect it will have on my own three children (10, 7 and 2), whether you can have the same child to stay each year and so build a relationship with them, have there been any problems in the past eg homesick kids etc. I feel it would be great for my children to have an insight into someone else experiences outside of the west, but our family time is v important to us also.

Marina Thu 19-Oct-06 13:17:25

<Janh, you're back! We've all been wondering where you were So good to see you posting >

Droile Thu 19-Oct-06 13:30:22

My friend did it for the first time this year.
I'll get details for you - I think she found it a bit hairy at first, because the child didn't actually want to be there. Cute and gorgeous child though (7yr old boy), she brought him to our house for an afternoon and I found him lovely.

Hi Marina, hope you got my last email. Just changed over to broadband today, so I'll have to give you my new address (old one will still work too).xxx

Marina Thu 19-Oct-06 13:32:04

<yes please Droile as I do owe you a note!>

JanH Thu 19-Oct-06 14:04:03

Well, I only really know of our own group, but looking at the pictures on the Sunflowers website the activities look very similar!

Our children visit for 4 weeks in June, when they are out of school. The first lot came in 1996 so the organisation here is pretty slick now; they are dropped off at the daily centre on weekdays between 8.30 & 9 and picked up between 4.30 & 5, unless there's been a full-day outing when they often get back later. They do some English and lots of craft activities, see dentists and opticians, have various local outings and activities, and eat tons of fruit. There are 2 interpreters with a group of c 20 children, one of ours has been with them every year and she is fab.

Here you generally have the same child each year; they come first at 7 (occasionally older) and the last visit is at 12. Some people have had 2 or 3 different children to stay. How they fit in with your own family seems to depend entirely on the family and the child that comes (not veryhelpful I know!) - some are wildly successful and some aren't, but I think the children who stay in a house where there are other young children learn a lot more English. Ours understands quite a bit but doesn't speak much.

Our boy came for the 4th time this year. He's 10 now, an orphan who lives with his grandmother and great-grandmother, and is a really sweet boy. He doesn't particularly like football, which my DSs (13 & 17 during this year's visit) play all the time, so he tends to spend quite a bit of his time at home on the playstation or watching videos (he watched Matilda and a Bug's Life about 20 times each!) - I think if you get a child with siblings, who is used to playing ordinary games, it would help with fitting in with yours. Luckily this year there was another boy staying a few hundred yards away and they got together most evenings, which helped a lot (but they still spent hours on the playstation!!!)

Ilya was hardly homesick at all; the first year he came he did cry twice when we rang his grandmother (on a Sunday evening at about 7.30 our time, they are 2 hours ahead) but ever since he has been fine. Some are better than others with homesickness - also with things like general naughtiness and behavioural problems - like any children!

It might be a good idea for you to get involved with your group as a helper before you decide to host; but there are host families here with children of similar ages to yours and they do seem to get along really well.

We find it difficult to keep in touch - letters go astray their end

imnot27 Thu 19-Oct-06 20:18:23

Thanks Janh, sounds like a good idea to join as a helper before hosting, maybe I will do that next summer and see how it goes. Maybe should get a playstation, too......

IrnBruTheNoo Sat 18-May-13 19:25:11

Yes, this is something we've just done for the first time this year through the local branch of F.O.C.C. We are already looking forward to next year's visit!! There were a group of 17 children and two interpreters over from the Cherikof region of Belarus. We were all prepared for a bed wetter, headlice, etc., but none of these situations cropped up with the boy we were looking after. It's been a rollercoaster of emotions, one of the most rewarding experiences of my life so far. Exhilarating is the best way to describe it! Fantastic experience, and we have also learned basic Russian along the way!

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