Located in Eastern Europe, Ukraine is a republic sandwiched between Russia to the east, Hungary, Poland, Slovakia, Romania, and Moldova to the west, and Belarus to the North. Turkey is to its south, separated by the Black Sea.
CheFuKo’s base of activities is in Zhytomyr Oblast, a region located approximately 130 kilometres to the west of the capital city of Kiev. In 1986, the year of the Chernobyl nuclear disaster, a large quantity of radioactive substances were blown on the wind towards this region. In particular, the population of Narodychi Raion (a district located 70 kilometres west of the Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant) struggle with the poverty caused by negative health effects and restricted economic activities.*1
Our organization currently supports schools, kindergartens and pediatric hospitals in the cities of Zhytomyr, Ovruch, and Narodychi in Zhytomyr Oblast.
*1 It is forbidden by law to establish new factories or companies in this area, causing great harm to its economic prospects.
Origin of Support
In September of 2013, the CheFuKo team visited Ukraine for the first time in order to obtain useful information for the children whose lives had changed completely due to the 2011 Tōhoku earthquake and Fukushima nuclear disaster. We were particularly interested in learning what had become of the locals who were children at the time of the Chernobyl accident that took place over 30 years ago.
We began by visiting a city called Zhytomyr, located approximately 130 kilometres west of Kiev. Arriving at a pediatric hospital, we were surprised by the number of children hospitalized with various diseases and disabilities. Although the city was located over a hundred kilometres away from the place of the accident and the children themselves hadn’t directly experienced the disaster, many still suffered the effects of the radioactive substances ingested by their parents. We were reminded that the Chernobyl accident was not in the past—to the people of Ukraine, it was an ongoing problem that still required a solution. Coming from a country with a shared experience of nuclear disaster, we felt that it was impossible to turn a blind eye to the situation.
Through our activities in Ukraine, we hope to share how the Chernobyl accident continues to impact the country.
We continue to conduct yearly on-site investigations, provide support towards facilities and engage the local children in cultural exchange programs.
① Donation of equipment
CheFuKo funds the annual purchase of the equipment that schools and hospitals require in order to maintain their health and educations.
Due to the long-standing financial crisis in Ukraine, many public schools and hospitals lack the funds to purchase essential equipment.
We cooperate with our local counterpart, the Charitable Fund “Chernobyl Hostages”, in order to provide ongoing support to these institutions.
② Cultural exchange program for children
From 2017 onward, we have engaged in an annual project known as the “Ukraine & Fukushima Children’s Exchange Program”.
Each year, we invite several Ukrainian children to Fukushima Prefecture, where the children are able to learn about Fukushima’s nuclear disaster, experience Japanese culture through activities such as tea ceremonies, and interact with the local people through school visits and homestays.
We also exchange Christmas cards and letters between Ukraine, Fukushima, and Nepal, in order to promote cross-cultural communication.
③ Thermotherapy treatment
After the Chernobyl nuclear accident, civil and military personnel known as liquidators were engaged in the post-disaster response through activities such as firefighting.
Today, liquidators still suffer from various diseases and negative health effects. We provide these liquidators and other ailing people with thermal treatment.