Adi Roche honoured for work with international award

Irishwoman honoured in New York for improving lives of children

Irishwoman and founder of the charity, Chernobyl Children International, Adi Roche has been honoured with the World of Children Award for her campaigning work for the victims of the nuclear disaster.

Ms Roche, from Cork, was one of six humanitarian campaigners who were honoured with the award - sometimes described as "The Nobel Prize for Child Advocacy" – at a ceremony in New York.

Along with children's rights campaigners from Ghana, Sierra Leone, Colombia, Mexico and the US, she was honoured "for having dramatically improved the lives of children around the world".

Ms Roche had previously received the World of Children Health Award in 2010 for pioneering an Irish funded flying doctor mission to bring cardiac surgeons to operate on seriously ill children in the Ukraine.


And now she received the organisation’s prestigious “Alumni Award” in special recognition of “the incredible impact she continues to have on the lives of thousands of children of the Chernobyl region”.

The ceremony, which was attended by actresses, Anne Hathaway and Stephanie March, saw Ms Roche re-united for the first time with one of the child survivors of the 1986 Chernobyl disaster.

"The World of Children" flew 28 year old Sasha Charnanoh to New York to present the award to Ms Roche who had helped bring him to Ireland from Belarus as a seven year old boy for life saving heart surgery.

“I was young, only six or seven, I was seriously ill… I remember being in the hospital my friend Vitaly running after Adi and asking her to take us to Ireland that if she didn’t we would die.

“We watched her leave, we didn’t know she would come back for us, we didn’t know she was the woman who would save our lives”, said Sasha who was one of four children flown to Ireland for life saving surgery.

Barry Roche

Barry Roche

Barry Roche is Southern Correspondent of The Irish Times