2015 HERO AWARD
2010 HEALTH AWARD
Founder, Chernobyl Children
Belarus & Ukraine
Five years after the devastating 1986 Chernobyl disaster, Adi Roche was volunteering with a nuclear disarmament group when they received a desperate fax from Belarusian and Ukrainian doctors working in the impacted area. “SOS appeal. For God’s sake, help us to get the children out.” Galvanized by that haunting plea, Adi has dedicated the last 24 years to the forgotten children of the Chernobyl region.
In 1991, she established Chernobyl Children International (CCI), which works tirelessly to provide care and offer hope to the thousands of children in the Chernobyl region that continue to be born with disabilities like Chernobyl Heart. CCI arranges for doctors to perform life-saving surgeries for child victims and flies some of them to Ireland for post-surgery treatment and recovery.
Adi was first honored in 2010 with the World of Children Health Award. Since then, Chernobyl Children International has saved the lives of 1,200 children born with congenital heart defects. In total, the organization has provided desperately needed medical care to thousands of children in the Chernobyl region, and an additional 25,000 children have been flown to Ireland for temporary respite and recuperation from the radioactive environment.
Chernobyl Children International was awarded official NGO status by the United Nations in 2004—the only charity working in the Chernobyl area that has been granted this standing.