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Today, the Chernobyl disaster does not generate the headlines it did when nuclear reactor no. 4 exploded on April 26, 1986, at 1:23 AM, with the winds blowing 70% of the radioactive debris and toxins into Belarus. However, the aftermath of this catastrophe continues to have devastating effects on the people of the Chernobyl region, especially the children. Spawned by the conscience and concerns of people throughout the U.S., scores of grass root programs have emerged to help the people most affected by the Chernobyl explosion.

In 1997, representatives from across the United States gathered to explore the formation of a national organization to help coordinate and sustain these community programs. At the end of the conference, the seeds for a new organization were sown to assist the people of the Chernobyl region.

Throughout the next year, a working group continued to develop the structure and define the role of the organization and in October 1998, Children of Chernobyl U.S. Alliance (CofCUSA) was officially formed. Working through an alliance of the many community organizations, individuals and programs (as well as various corporations, businesses, and foundations) directly involved in these humanitarian efforts, CofCUSA is a private, non-profit organization with tax-exempt status.

CofCUSA is supportive of all ongoing efforts and provides support services to both new and existing groups; has established a network of resources; and is committed to developing new program initiatives to meet the needs of those in the Chernobyl region.

The primary focus of the community groups has been that of providing health recuperation respites for the children of Chernobyl. However, other groups engaged in significant program activities provide:

 

humanitarian aid and medicines to orphanages, community centers, and hospitals;

 

assistance for those with special medical needs, e.g., visually impaired, prosthetics, and seriously ill;

 

opportunities for doctors/dentists to upgrade their skills; and

 

connections for friendship, global awareness, and educational exchanges.

All of these program activities fulfill the mission statement of CCUSA, which is:

To offer care, compassion, relief and hope to the people of the
Chernobyl region, especially the children.

The friendships formed with the children, as well as the care givers in the Chernobyl region, are treasured and long lasting. For many, these relationships provide our friends some glimmer of hope for their future well-being and a modicum of assurance that the world has not forgotten them.

 Copyright © 2000 Children of Chernobyl, United States Alliance. All rights reserved.