The Union State provides recreation & rehabilitation to those most in need
Union State funding supports the rehabilitation and recreation of two significant demographics affected by disaster: the children of regions heavily affected by the Chernobyl disaster and disabled participants of the Great Patriotic War. Both groups are given the opportunity each year to experience the best Belarusian and Russian resorts, via state-funded ‘packages’, receiving much-needed medical care, rest, and recreation.
At the beginning of each year, top Belarusian and Russian resorts compete for the tender, organized at by the Standing Committee of the Union State. This year, the winning tenders went to one Russian and two Belarusian resorts — Zhemchuzhina, Svitanak and Shakhtinsky Tekstilshchik — which will soon be welcoming children living in territories most adversely affected by the Chernobyl disaster. More than 1,500 children from Gomel, Mogilev, Brest, Grodno, Bryansk, Tula and Kaluga Regions will receive the state-funded assistance. The children will benefit from three weeks of new friends, a variety of wonderful leisure activities, seminars, and the best in medical treatments and rehabilitation procedures — experiences they will be sure to treasure for a long time.
Almost fifteen years have passed since the Union State began funding this initiative in 2002, when they first financed recreation and rehabilitation of children from territories contaminated with radionuclides. Since then, about 17,000 children have benefitted, and this year will be no exception. About 40 million Russian Roubles have been allocated to assist children from Chernobyl regions.
To meet the strict selection criteria, a resort must have up-to-date facilities and amenities, but also devise an informative cultural programme for the children. The topic of the Union State must feature prominently in the programme, enabling children to widen their historical knowledge of the two countries, and experience the national and cultural traditions of their neighbouring nation — inevitably making friendships and strengthening connections between the children of both countries. The ratio between quality of the overall programme and price is, of course, also a factor.
Zhemchuzhina, a recreation and rehabilitation centre near Lepel of Vitebsk Region, successfully met the criteria. The resort could be considered a long-term participant in the programme — they have been welcoming young Belarusians and Russians for the past thirteen years, hosting over 2,500 children in that time. This year, from September to November, Union package tours to the resort have been awarded to 413 children, including 233 from Bryansk, Kaluga and Tula.
Centre Director Vera Zakrevskaya is rightly proud of their continued participation in the project, saying, “It’s an honour to welcome children within the Union programme, and we do our utmost to honour that trust. We have highly qualified doctors working at the centre, including specific specialists, catering particularly to the children’s requirements. We have the most modern equipment. Due to the support of the Department for Liquidation of Consequences of the Chernobyl Accident at the Emergency Ministry of the Belarus Republic, the treatment and rehabilitation base is continuously updated. Special attention is paid to nutrition and diet. Here, children have six meals a day, and a special menu has been developed to remove radionuclides from the organism and strengthen the immune system. The menu consists only of natural products and ingredients.”
The topic of the Union State has a prominent place within the cultural programme of Zhemchuzhina. Their library contains over two thousand books presented by the Standing Committee. The leisure and cultural activities include guest speakers of note, roundtables, sporting competitions, excursions to Vitebsk, visits to Khatyn Memorial Complex, Minsk, and Berezinsky Reserve.
Svitanak, a resort near Pinsk, is welcoming Union State groups of children for the second time. The first time was in 2014. Last year, Svitanak also participated in the tender but was unsuccessful The centre resolved to prepare more carefully for this year’s tender, and it welcomed its first visitors on June 15th, comprising seventy-four children from Tula and Bryansk. In late August, a smaller group of twenty-six children from Kaluga are expected. Comfortable rooms, good sports amenities, an up-to-date medical centre, and six meals a day are provided for the children to improve their health and gain strength.
The Director of Svitanak Valentina Begeba pays equal attention to comfortable accommodation, recreation, and the cultural and entertainment programme, “In the first week, the pupils went on a tour to Pinsk and watched a play at a local theatre. There were enthusiastic responses to a visit to Belovezhskaya Pushcha. Coming up is the Union State Day — which we are all actively preparing for. It should be noted that at Svitanak, Belarusian children stay together with Russian ones.”
Department Head of the Republican Centre for Recuperation and Health Resort Treatment of Population of Belarus Lyudmila Golubovich says, “Winning the tender for children rehabilitation and recreation centres was not really a surprise. In the last couple of years, the centre’s facilities and amenities have been significantly updated thanks to funds from the Union budget, allocated within the 4th joint Belarusian and Russian Chernobyl programme. Medical equipment and buses to transport the children were purchased. The funding really assists rehabilitation and recreation centres to provide a higher level of services to children.”
In late August, 170 pupils from Belarus are heading to the Black Sea, to stay at recreation pension Shakhtinsky Tekstilshchik. Like Belarusian Zhemchuzhina, this recreation complex is a pioneer in recreation and rehabilitation. It has been welcoming children since 2003. Once again, the theme of the Union State is strongly incorporated into the programme, especially designed for the Russian and Belarusian children. Among many memorable events, are the ‘Union State Days’ with themed evenings, intellectual games, contests, concerts, sport competitions, quizzes and roundtables.
This important social project of the Union State has one more directive: to aid rehabilitation of the veterans and disabled participants of the Great Patriotic War. This year, 132 package tours to resorts have been allocated to Belarusian veterans with funding from the Union State. Successful in the tender organised by the Standing Committee of the Union State for 2016 were: Sosnovy Bor near Minsk, Porechie near Grodno, and Chabarok near Baranovichi. Successful Russian resorts and sanatoriums were: Peredelkino, a cardiological sanatorium centre near Moscow, and Karacharovo sanatorium recreation centre in Tver Region. Five Belarusian veterans, medically assessed as fit enough to travel, are to visit the Russian Peredelkino resort. The remaining 127 veterans will enjoy stays at Belarusian sanatoriums closer to home.
In May, nineteen veterans were welcomed at Chabarok sanatorium. Sanatorium director Lyudmila Belokhvostik stated that apart from medical and rehabilitation procedures, they were also offered a rich cultural programme. Thirty more Russian veterans will arrive in September. The resort is honoured to have won the tender for the second year in succession, and in total will receive eighty-two veterans and disabled participants of the Great Patriotic War into their care.
Between 2002 and 2015, sanatorium, resort treatment and rehabilitation was provided to 5,775 children and 1,522 veterans and disabled participants of the Great Patriotic War living in Belarus courtesy of Union State funds.
- Over 3,000 Russian veterans and disabled participants of the Great Patriotic War were rendered sanatorium and resort treatment services at Belarusian resorts. In addition, more than 7,000 children from radionuclide-contaminated regions of Tula, Kaluga and Bryansk Regions, benefitted from the programme.
By Lilia Khlystun