Kids Aloft 2000
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Kids Aloft 2000 - Maybole Baptist Church


Kids Aloft 2000

Project Progress


First News Release from Revd. Richard Martin 

Chernobyl and Belarus

Remember Chernobyl - that fateful day in 1986? Many people in Belarus have good reason to. Although the explosion occurred in the Ukraine, the cloud of radioactive material drifted north over the eastern part of Belarus (Chernobyl is less than 20Km from the Belarus border), contaminating large areas of the country. Around 75% of the contamination from the explosion occurred in Belarus. The immediate effect was a 200-fold increase in the incidence of thyroid cancers, caused by radioactive iodine. As iodine, has a relatively short half life, risks arising from it reduce relatively quickly - only to be replaced by risks from caesium-137, strontium-90, and plutonium-239 with half-lives of 30, 29, and 24,400 years, respectively. In 1998, New Scientist magazine quoted research showing an 85% increase in congenital malformations in children in the most heavily contaminated areas, and a 24% increase in the so-called 'clean' areas of Belarus. Other manifestations of the radioactive contamination are increased rates of tumours and leukemia. Beacuse of the long decay period associated with the conatiminating elements, the problem gets worse as time goes by as virulent material is distributed over even wider areas as a result of the action of wind and water.

Kids Aloft 2000

The Kids Aloft 2000 project is the latest in a series of projects (run every 2-3 years) which aims to provide a holiday in Scotland for 96 children (and 10 adult supervisors) from Belarus, from June 7 to 27. Many parts of Belarus are still severely contaminated, and the county's economy has been disrupted. Even those children who are considered healthy by Belarus standards, often suffer from weakened immune systems. The object of the project is therefore to give as many children as possible the opportunity to enjoy fresh air, exercise and good food in order to build up their general health. The children will be hosted by 12 Baptist churches throughout central Scotland, each church taking 12 or 24 children for 10 days. In this way, the children will get the opportunity to see two different parts of the country. The will be accommodated in the homes of volunteers in the respective towns where they will be based. Extensive programmes of outings are being arranged by the churches, to maximise the 'fun factor'. In addition, the churches will be seeking to provide the kids with clothing and other items which will be of use on their return home. Many of the gifts received by children on previous visits of this kind were passed on to relatives and other needy children on their return home, so the benefits of the visit are felt beyond the immediate circle of children involved.

Project Progress

Representatives from 'Servants Aloft Ministries' were in Minsk from 22-26 March. They have succeeded in obtaining visa approval for all the visitors (adults as well as children). The contract for the charter flight has been signed, and all necessary other details, such as approval by parents and guardians resolved. The children will be aged between 8 and 13, and will be equal numbers of girls and boys. They will come from four areas in Belarus - Brest and Grodno in the West and Gomel (considered the worst affected town in Belarus) and Mogilev in the East. Ten adults will accompany them. Good progress has been made in getting project-wide sponsorship in the form of holdalls, toilet bags, toothpaste, toothbrushes etc. There is still plenty of scope for us to get items locally, however, and if you think you know someone who can help, please e-mail us.


A draft programme of outings has already been agreed by Maybole Baptist church, and work is continuing to refine the finer details (for example what to do if the Scottish weather proves to be just a bit wet occasionally!). Finding volunteers has not proved difficult, and we have even had friends from beyond our own church volunteering. All the churches of the town have responded enthusiastically, and the community council have generously donated the community bus, free of charge, for the whole period of the visit. Donations to funds have been going well, and special thanks are due to a good number of 'senior citizens' who have given with great generosity. Local businesses have also been very kind with many, very valuable offers of practical help already received.



CHERNOBYL – Gone & Forgotten?

Well, do you remember 26th April 1986?

What were you doing 14 years ago, to the day?

I had just turned fifty. My youngest, at fourteen, was nearly my height. Now he’s taller than me, a father, and I’m Grandad to a healthy little lad who is nearly six years old.

Had we been living in Belarus, the country north of Ukraine and close, so close, to the Ukrainian town of Chernobyl, my son and I might well have contracted radiation sickness, that day. The consequences of this sickness could have resulted in our little lad suffering today from throat or thyroid cancer or a blood disorder – or something else.

The name, Chernobyl, is etched on my memory. But I know little about the serious nuclear accident. That was way back then – and my children and their children are fine. Yet, still today, in the year 2000, Chernobyl has meant that children in Belarus are at far greater risk than normal of suffering these terrible and life threatening illnesses. And the economic state of the country is no help to the many who do suffer these illnesses.

Here at MAYBOLE BAPTST CHURCH – in this our centenary year - we are co-operating with the Ayr based charity WINGS ALOFT MINISTRIES to bring a party of children from Belarus to Scotland for a summer holiday. For ten days, we shall have 12 children and two adult carers (from a much larger group). They will spend their first ten days with another church.

This is a big project, for us. Maybole Baptist Church has a small membership, and many of our number are well on years. But members have already volunteered to house the children. We must also run an enjoyable programme of activities for the children and provide the main meals, for the ten days they are with us.

We need fresh and tinned food to provide the main meals – including plenty of fruit and milk;

we also need transport to take the group to beaches, to play centres, and to other attractions;

and we need money – spending money for the children, and money some to cover what we are not given in kind (food, entrance fees, clothing etc. (- we’ve been told to budget £1500+!).


- we trust God to see us through this venture – please pray that all our needs will be met and that we do not waiver.


[The Belarus flag above is copied from Microsoft ENCARTA 97]