The "roughly handled child" ... Near the beginning of the film, a small child is seen handled in a rough way, as CCPI's Adi Roche pleads with the nurse to be gentle. We are sad to to report that this child died shortly after he was filmed. While we cannot say that CCPI -- or anyone -- might have been able to give this child a much longer life, we can certainly hold him out as an example of how badly needed is proper medical and nursing care in many institutions in Belarus. You can read more about our nursing programs on the Our Programs page of our website.
The boy with the terrible skin condition on his hands and feet ... is named Sasha Nesterenko. Sasha, aged 13 when he was filmed (although he looks much younger), suffered terribly from severe malnutrition, and a severely compromised immune system which complicated a rare, contageous skin condition called "Norwegian Encrusted Scabies." We brought him to Tralee General Hospital in Ireland, where he was treated successfully, and was returned to his home in the Vesnova asylum. His health is closely monitored by our nurses, who are trained, supervised, and paid by CCPI. He is doing great. You can read more about our work at the Vesnova asylum.
The "Chernobyl Heart girl"... is named Tatyana M. We will never forget the gratitude of her parents, so movingly depicted near the end of the film, as she recovered from life-saving cardiac surgery. Tatyana spent this past summer in Ireland, staying with a host family through CCPI's Rest and Recuperation Program. As "star" of Chernobyl Heart , she received a hero's welcome. She has fully recovered from her surgery, and looks great! She has a slight scoliosis of the spine, which is supported by a brace. CCPI provides funding and logisitics for cardiac surgeon Dr. William Novick's life saving surgical trips to Belarus. If you would like to support this program, you can designate your donation by using the DONATE NOW button on our website.
The boy who asked for the TV and the boy who wants to be a doctor... First of all, since so many have asked, Sasha now has a TV! But even more than that, Vesnova, the place where Sasha and his pal Sergei (the boy who wants to be a doctor) live, is a much different place than the one you saw in the film. Vesnova has been completely renovated by Irish volunteers and has new nurses trained and funded by CCPI. Use the link to learn more. But there is still more to the personal story of Sasha and Sasha. This writer saw them in early October in Dublin -- at the European premiere of Chernoby Heart. A CCPI volunteer in Ireland shaved her head (no kidding) in a pub to raise money to bring the boys to Ireland for a three-week holiday. She also was able to buy them custom wheelchairs. One of the boys had the confidence to make a statement to the audience after the film. They were both in good spirits, and very proud to be featured in a film and to be in Ireland.
"Chernobyl Heart" film wins Oscar: February 29, 2004
Film highlights the work of Chernobyl Children's Project International
Chernobyl Children's Project International (CCPI) was delighted when "Chernobyl Heart", the film based on our work, won the Academy Award in the "Best Documentary Short Subject" category. The film, produced and directed by Maryann DeLeo, focuses on the continuing effects of radiation on the children of Belarus, the country most effected by the Chernobyl nuclear disaster of 1986. The film prominently features Adi Roche, our International Executive Director.
The film follows an October 2002 delegation of CCPI representatives into the "exclusion zone," to the Chernobyl nuclear power plant, and follows the invisible trail of radiation to the country's hospitals, cancer centers, orphanages, and mental asylums.
The film prominently features the children of the Vesnova mental asylum, who are featured in the "Images" section of this web site. CCPI provides humanitarian aid to these children through a comprehensive program of renovations and nursing staff support. While we believe that no child should live in an institution of any kind, we were compelled to alleviate the deperately bleak living standards of these children. Also featured in the film is the work of noted cardiac surgeon Dr. William Novick, whose work in Belarus is funded by Chernobyl Children's Project International. Along with Dr. Novick's life-saving surgeries, our cardiac training program offers long-term hope to children suffering from "Chernobyl Heart."
CCPI congratulates Maryann DeLeo, and all those associated with the film. Our hope is that the film will build awareness of the plight of the children who continue to suffer from the effects of the Chernobyl nuclear disaster of 1986.