Limerick Rose to travel to Belarus asylum for children

Maria Flannery

Reporter:

Maria Flannery

Email:

maria.flannery@limerickleader.ie

Limerick Rose to travel to Belarus asylum for children

Marie Hennessy, the 2016 Limerick Rose, will travel next week to a remote area of Belarus to help care for over 170 children who are residents of a children’s asylum

MARIE Hennessy, the 2016 Limerick Rose, will travel next week to a remote area of Belarus to help care for over 170 children who are residents of a children’s asylum.

The secondary school teacher and Newcastle West native will be travelling with a group of 21 volunteers from the Rose of Tralee, including 2016 reigning rose Maggie McEldowney.

The group also includes nurses, care workers and teachers, who will all spend a week at the Vesnova Children’s Mental Asylum, about 175km from Chernobyl.

The orphanage was discovered in the 1990s by an Irish aid convoy organised by the Adi Roche Chernobyl International charity.

“We will never cease to be inspired by the generosity and kindness of Rose Ambassadors who reach out and touch the hearts of the forgotten children in the Chernobyl regions,” said Adi Roche.

“These roses and escorts are such a highly skilled group, and we are very lucky to have them visit the children to help them grow and develop in an as safe and healthy environment as possible,” she added.

The children they will be working with range in age from 4 to 18 years. Most have lost their parents, others have been abandoned by families who could no longer care for them, and all of them suffer from severe illnesses and disabilities and require a high level of medical and nursing care.

Meanwhile, the search is on for escorts for the 2017 Rose of Tralee. Maggie McEldowney has challenged Limerick men to see if they have what it takes to be a Rose Escort at this year’s festival from August 16 to 22.

March 16 is the entry deadline, so young men will have one month to apply at www.roseoftralee.ie.

The festival takes its name from a 19th Century love song - fitting that Maggie and her escort John Slowey would choose Valentine’s Day to launch the search for lads aged 21 to 30 to take part one of the most famous international festivals in the world.

The primary role of the escort is to ensure that his rose’s time at the festival is a memorable and enjoyable experience.

“The rose escort is comic relief - the heart and soul of the festival. They bring the laughter and energy to the next level, and their support and companionship during the very busy days is so appreciated by the roses,” said Ms McEldowney.