Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Tennis in Chernobyl?

The UN got a little help from a tennis player last week in raising awareness for its new program in Eastern Europe. The UN will allocate $2.5 million to help people who are still affected by the Chernobyl nuclear disaster of 1986. The UN initiative will provide assistance to communities in a region home to 5 million people that cuts across three different countries. Tennis superstar Maria Sharapova urged for an international effort to assist in rebuilding affected areas. Sharapova, a Goodwill Ambassador for the United Nations Development Program, has a personal connection to the Chernobyl disaster. A huge area was affected by radiation, and her parents were forced to relocate just before she was born. Sharapova said of the 23rd Chernobyl anniversary, “We must continue to work with the same goal in mind: bringing life back to normal for all the people touched by the disaster.”

In order to help dispel fears and misinformation, the UN will provide education and training to a wide range of civil society actors; including teachers, medical professionals, media, and community leaders. The program will also focus on giving advice about health risks and healthy lifestyles. The work will be a collaboration between the United Nations Development Program, the International Atomic Energy Agency, the United Nations Children’s Fund and the World Health Organization.

Click here to see the video.