Over the summer Burren Chernobyl Project were informed of a terrible tragedy that happened in the small village of Kolki, Belarus.
We began helping as soon as possible, but when everything is taken from you where do you begin?
Last week Br. Liam visited Tatyana and Leonid, below is a letter from him about his visit.
When we got word earlier in the summer about what had happened, we quickly set about helping. There was a small wooden house for sale beside the house which burnt down and we were able to help with buying this house for them. The family repaired the roof on it and moved in. Luckily the seller left them what furniture was in the house as they had lost everything.
I am glad we got to visit and see that they had a place to live. Tatyana and Leonid were glad we got to visit to say thanks for getting them the house. It is right beside their own one and so it is very handy for them to look after their garden – but also such a reminder of their loss every time they open the door or look out a window and see the shell of their former home.
One of the other losses for the family was their life savings. Down the years they had been putting aside what they could out of their small wages. These savings were in the house when the fire occurred. In Belarus, they save dollars rather than their own money which always loses value. These were mostly five dollar notes, small denomination, saved bit by bit down the years. People do not put their trust in banks and do not put their money in banks, especially poorer people in the villages.
After the fire, the dollars in this house somehow were found again among the rubble and ash, recognisable as dollars but they were scorched and burnt around the edges. No bank in Belarus would accept them. Tatyana told me the story and showed me the burnt dollars, the stench of fire smoke still off them.
I took the dollars and when I got back to Minsk I replaced them with clean fresh ones. A neighbour of Tatyana and Leonid working in Minsk came to collect the dollars.
‘You know what they were saving for?’ she said. ‘They were saving it to give it to someone to look after their daughter when they were gone.’
Small denomination lives. Big, caring hearts of parents in the small village of Kolki."
Every little helps..
We hope to raise some funds to help Tatyana and Leonid at this dreadfully difficult time.
All donations, however small would be greatly appreciated and will be transferred safely and securely.
To donate please click here or the donation button.