A United Nations 2005 report estimated that around 4,000 people would die in the following years from diseases linked to the radiation released in the Chernobyl Nuclear disaster back on April 26, 1986.
It is considered the worst nuclear accident in history, as directly related to the deaths caused by the explosion and to the costs of containment operation and cleaning of radioactive waste, and one of the only two events classified with the maximum level (7), together with the Fukushima disaster.
Despite these facts, the poverty and isolation to which the whole region was condemned after that incident, remain two of the major problems faced by its inhabitants.
On the left: Mark Kosenchuk 9 (grey and red) with his brother Bogdan Nesterenko 13, a family friend, his sister Sofia Kosenchuk 7 and his mother Olena. Zoryn, Ukraine, 2014.
On the right: Mark Kosenchuk (blue) with Joana Vitorino, Paulo Vitorino, Susana Roquete and Alfredo Vitorino Mark lives with his brothers and mother. This year he went to Portugal for the 2nd time and he stayed at Peniche, a Portuguese costal city Vitorino's family. Bogdan, his older brother went for the first time to Portugal despite being older. Since he has a slight difference in the size of his two legs his mother never suggested his name to the Blue Summer program. Peniche, Portugal, 2015.
In February and March 2014, following the Euromaidan protest movement and subsequent Revolution of Dignity, Russia invaded and annexed the Crimean Peninsula from Ukraine. In April, demonstrations by pro-Russian groups in the Donbas region of Ukraine escalated into a war between the Ukrainian military and Russian-backed separatists of the self-declared Donetsk and Luhansk republics.
The Blue Summer project was created in 2008 to welcome children and teenagers aged 6-16, providing them with a month of summer holidays in Portugal, hosted by a local family. Its purpose is to open horizons by putting them in contact with new experiences, but also with a healthy environment, away from radiation and, in recent years, news of this armed conflict.
On the left: Kateryna Kushnirenko 11, with her sister Oleksandra 8, her mother Oxana and her little brother Ivan. Zoryn, Ukraine, 2014.
On the right: Kateryna Kushnirenko with Isabel Ferreira and Rui Nicolau. Kateryna, her sister and brother live without their father in a two division house. Her host family in Portugal prepared a bedroom just for her. The couple never had children and see this project as a way of giving love, even if it is just for one month and a half. Kateryna went to Portugal for the 2nd year, and her little sister, Oleksandra went for the 1st time to a house at Gondomar, a city near by. Vila Nova de Gaia, Portugal, 2015.
On the left: Karolina Vasyanovych 15 (red jacket) and Roman 10 (first on the left) with their parents and some of their brothers and sisters. In total they are 11 brothers. Musiiky, Ukraine, 2014.
On the right: Karolina Vasyanovych with Paula Mour„o and Paulo Pires. Roman and Karolina Vasyanovych went to Portugal for the second time, to the north and center. Their others brothers went to Spain were there is similar programs to host children from affected areas of Chernobyl region in Ukraine and Belarus. Paula and Paulo host Karolina in their house for the second time, however they have host another girl for some years until she was not able to come because of her age. Oeiras, Portugal, 2015.
On the left: Sergii Karas 12, with his father Olexandre and mother Roxana, and his grandmother and uncle. Stanishivka, Ukraine, 2014.
On the right: Sergii Karas with Carlos Viola, Virginia Viola, Jo„o Carlos Viola and Nuno Viola. Sergio Karas goes to Portugal since 2010 and stays with Viola family at a costal city in the center of Portugal. At first he was afraid of the water as it was the first time he saw such quantity but then he started to enjoy. Nowadays and after he learned to swim and to surf he spends the most of his time inside water. Peniche, Portugal, 2015.
On the left: Arkadiy and Angelina Yatsenko 8 and 11, their mother Larissa, their stepfather Petro and their uncle Mekola. Zoryn, Ukraine, 2014.
On the right: Arkadiy Yatsenko and Angelina Yatsenko with Adelino Rodrigues, Cid·lia Santos, Cl·udia Santos and Vanessa Monteiro. Arkadiy and Angelina Yatsenko go to Portugal since 2013 and stay with Cl·udia Santos family in a rural area not far away from the beach. Cl·udia works in the navy and during this Summer period she asks for an unpaid leave so that she can spend quality time with the brothers. Serra D'Aire, Portugal, 2015.