American Belarussian Relief Organization
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The American Belarussian Relief Organization (ABRO) is an American non-profit organization dedicated to improving the lives of children located in areas of Belarus affected by the Chernobyl disaster of April 26, 1986. The main focus of ABRO is to provide children with time away from the contaminated areas of Belarus.
The organization’s American headquarters is located in Zebulon, North Carolina.
Belarus absorbed about 70% of the radiation released by the Chernobyl nuclear reactor when it exploded in 1986, leading to mass evacuations and serious health consequences for those in the contaminated areas. The radiation leads to a higher occurrence of cancer, birth defects, and a weakened immune system.
ABRO began taking shape in 1991, when families at Connecticut River Valley Fellowship Church in South Windsor, Connecticut took in the first group of 13 children and two adult chaperons for a six-week period in the summer. Those involved in the outreach traveled to the Mogilev area of Belarus in 1993 and met with Belarussian community leaders to discuss their concerns. ABRO was created as a partnership between the American and Belarussian leaders in order to give a brighter hope to Belarus’ children.
From 1991 to 2004, 3100 children have journeyed to the United States and another 400 have attended summer camps in uncontaminated regions of Belarus. In 2004, 37 groups totaling 540 children came to America along with their interpreters.
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