Helen Faughnan has volunteered with Chernobyl Children International for over 20 years. She began by helping to fundraise for the organisation but soon became thoroughly engrossed in trying to better the lives of children affected by the Chernobyl disaster. Helen travels to Belarus numerous times a year, often using up her annual leave, to volunteer at Vesnova orphanage and to co ordinate groups of volunteers or indeed to show and explain the current situations in Belarus to sponsors and donators. Helen has represented CCI at many functions, schools, national and overseas meetings tirelessly trying to raise awareness and funds.
Helen also played an integral part in agreeing an adoption policy between Ireland and Belarus resulting in numerous adoptions here for disabled children and children with deformities who otherwise would never have known a family life. Although this adoption policy is no longer functional, Helen along with the founder of the organisation, Adi Roche, continues to keep talks open with the Belarusian government to try and re open the adoption policy. Helen took a two year break from her own career in the earlier years of her volunteering to work full time for CCI to try and improve situations for many children. Trina Gilchriest nominated Helen for a Volunteer Ireland Award, she said “I could talk for hours about Helen's kindness, generosity and goodwill not only in her volunteering role but across all aspects of her life. She is an inspiration and I am sure she is responsible for many more people becoming involved in volunteering because of her own passion, integrity and belief in CCI.”
Photo courtesy of Joseph Carr Photography