The first month of the school holidays will be long remembered by 270 pupils from Bryansk, Tula, Kaluga and Gomel Regions. The youngsters are spending 21 days at the Zhemchuzhina (Pearl) Children’s Rehabilitation and Wellness Centre, near Lepel, in Vitebsk Region. Enjoying leisure activities and useful treatments, the Union State paid trip aims to bring a better quality of life to those affected by the Chernobyl accident. This year, more than 1,500 children from Belarus and Russia are receiving similar trips.
According to the Director of the Republican Centre for Recuperation and Sanatorium Resort Treatment, Gennady Bolbatovsky, the Union State has been paying for such recuperative trips for children from the Chernobyl-affected regions since 2002: in all, 5,775 Belarusians have benefitted. This year, another 365 children from Gomel, Mogilev and Brest Regions will receive the Union State permits. Of these, 210 will go to the Black Sea, to the Shakhtinsky Tekstilshchik holiday hotel, located near Tuapse (winner of this year’s tender, organised by the Permanent Committee of the Union State).
This children’s sanatorium style recuperation complex has accepted Union State schoolchildren since 2003. The Shakhtinsky Tekstilshchik boasts all the necessary facilities, including wonderful sea views and its own beach. Each day spent there is remembered forever. Meanwhile, there is an intensive educational and cultural programme in which schoolchildren from Belarus and Russia take part.
The Union State topic runs like a scarlet thread through our Russian-Belarusian partnership, including at our Days of the Union State and thematic evenings of games, contests, concerts, sports events, quizzes and round table discussions.
The Belarusian Zhemchuzhina is the second facility to meet the criteria of the tender, having been accepting children for the past 12 years. More than 2,000 children from Russia and Belarus have been able to improve their health while staying there, notes the Director of the Centre, Vera Zakrevskaya. She tells us proudly, “We view it as a matter of honour that we receive such children. We work hard to justify this trust, employing highly qualified doctors, including specialists, and using the most modern medical equipment. Our treatment and rehabilitation base is being constantly expanded, thanks to the Department for Mitigating the Consequences of the Catastrophe at the Chernobyl NPP, within the Ministry for Emergency Situations of Belarus. Special attention should be paid to child nutrition, so we serve six meals daily designed to remove radionuclides from the body and to strengthen the immune system. All our ingredients are natural.”
Zhemchuzhina also offers a variety of educational and cultural programmes, including on the nature of the Union State. Its library contains more than 2,000 books, donated by the Permanent Committee. Meanwhile, the children enjoy evening entertainment, quizzes, sports competitions, meetings with interesting people, and excursions to sites in Minsk and Vitebsk, to the Khatyn Memorial Complex, and to Berezinsky Biosphere Reserve. Zhemchuzhina will be admitting more children towards autumn, promising an itinerary just as exciting.
Joint children’s Russian-Belarusian recuperative trips are invaluable, as are our Days of the Union State. Our fraternity of nations helps fill children from various regions of Belarus and Russia with a sense of pride and belonging.
By Lilia Khlystun