DCS was recently delighted to welcome Adi Roche, taking time out from her extremely busy schedule to speak to DCS Transition Year students. Adi is the founder of Chernobyl Children International, an Irish-based charity that has raised €91 million in aid for the children of Chernobyl, and she spoke to the students about the way that ordinary citizens can influence the course of events on a global scale. She talked about her own work in the late seventies campaigning against the introduction of nuclear power to Ireland – along with our very own Guidance Counsellor, Owen Casey! – and, more recently, her unstinting work in aid of children in Chernobyl. While much of the material she discussed was quite sobering, her message was inspirational. She spoke about how, in a few weeks’ time, she will be taking 500 children from Chernobyl to visit Ireland, and how each of these trips away adds two years onto their life expectancy. She very movingly described watching open-heart surgery that she had organised be performed on these children, making it possible for them to live beyond the four years they would otherwise have. She encouraged students to become active and engaged in the world around them, something that is both extremely relevant at the moment, and that taps into our historical sense of conscience and moral responsibility – Adi drew a lineage from the Island of Saints and Scholars in the Dark Ages to the humanitarian torchbearers of today. The students found her presentation, and the two short DVDs that she showed them, very engaging and thought-provoking, and were very appreciative of the time Adi took from her packed itinerary to talk to them.
Ciarán Ó Conaill