Life Without Baby

Filling the silence in the motherhood discussion

Irish Chero: Adi Roche March 16, 2012

Photo courtesy: Business and Finance

By Jane G.

Adi Roche was born in Clonmel, County Tipperary, in 1957.  She is a campaigner for peace, humanitarian aid and education.  She was working as a volunteer with the Irish Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament in 1991, when she received a fax message from Belarus, a country ravaged by the effects of the Chernobyl nuclear disaster of 1986.  This message, which was to change the course of her life, simply stated “SOS, for God’s sake, help us get the children out!”.  So began her life’s work, to establish Chernobyl Children’s Project International, which since its establishment in Ireland in 1991 has delivered over €80 million in aid to the areas most affected by the Chernobyl nuclear disaster and has brought over 13,000 children to Ireland on rest and recuperation vacations, some for life saving surgery. The organization expanded into the USA in 2001.

For her work with CCPI, Adi has been honored by various awards: the Medal of Francysk Skaryna (by the Belarusian Government), the European Woman Laureate Award, Irish Person of the Year, the European Person of the Year award, The Robert Burns Humanitarian Award in 2002 and the World of Children’s 2010 Health Award.  She lives in Cork, with her husband of several years, Sean Dunne.  They have no children of their own.

In an interview in Hot Press magazine in 1997, she stated that she had suffered a number of miscarriages in the early years of her marriage.  Because she subsequently chose to pursue a career of humanitarian work involving exposure to areas of high level radioactive contamination, and because of the sheer time commitment her work takes up, she and her husbanded decided to remain childfree.  In another interview she is quoted as saying ” the day we cannot shed a tear for another human being or feel an emotion about the suffering or the agony of another human being, no matter what part of the world they are in, is the day I think we switch the light off on the planet, because we have lost who we are as a species and we have lost our sense of responsibility of being part of the human family”.   A mother not in the conventional sense, but a mother to thousands of children none the less, Adi is the person whom I proudly nominate as an Irish chero.

Jane G is 42 year old Irish woman, who is married and childless not by choice.  She lives in County Tipperary with her husband and three cats, and works in the field of finance.  She and her husband recently became involved as a host family with the Chernobyl Lifeline Ireland project, an organization which arranges rest and recuperation visits to Ireland for children from disadvantaged areas of Belarus.  Read about their life changing experience with their two adorable seven-year-old Belarussian guests here.

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8 Responses to “Irish Chero: Adi Roche”

  1. Kathleen Guthrie Woods Says:

    Great post, Jane! Thank you for introducing us to Adi. Brava!

  2. Kellie Says:

    Thank you for this post. Lately I have been feeling so sorry for myself and then I read something like this and the wonderful work Adi has done and it helps put everything into perspective. I am very interested in researching more about Chernobyl Children’s Project International. Thank you again!

    • Jane G Says:

      Hi Kellie, there are many Chernobyl support organisations around the world, so it’s well worth researching them to find one in your area. They do fantastic work, and it’s a very rewarding type of volunteering to participate in.

  3. Dorothy Says:

    Wonderful post, Jane! I followed the link to your blog and really enjoyed learning more about Lera and Dasha. You’re such a good writer that I laughed and swiped tears from my eyes as I read about the visit. I can imagine how cute little Dasha looked, going to mass all dressed in pink, and how much fun it was to blow-dry the hair of the Barbie dolls with these two girls. Brilliant use of Google Translate to get through some of the other challenges!

    Thanks so much for giving us a glimpse into other possibilities for sharing life with children. Hope to see future guest posts here.

    • Jane G Says:

      Hi Dorothy, thanks for the lovely feedback. Glad you enjoyed both this post and the one on my own blog. It was certainly a very different Christmas for us than we had been accustomed to, and hopefully was the first of many as host parents. It was challenging at times, but extremely fulfilling at the same time. I am promoting Chernobyl Children’s charities across the blogsosphere as I really want to raise awareness of them as a way of both helping children in need, while at the same time putting our nurturing instincts to good use. Thanks again.

  4. Mali Says:

    Oh I LOVE her. Thanks so much for this!


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