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The Greater Chernobyl Cause is based in Cork, Ireland. It began as a response to the world's worst nuclear disaster but has now widened its mission to concentrate on the human casualties of the break-up of the former Soviet Union.

Nowhere more so than in Kazakhstan where those who survived early life in a city orphanage faced the horrific prospect of being transferred hundreds of miles to a squalid and disease-ridden institution in Ayagus. For some, it amounted to a sentence of death.

Kazakhstan is the largest landlocked country in the world. The similarities with the Chernobyl disaster are startling. It was here that the Soviet Union exploded 500 nuclear weapons in a hand-picked test site over a period of 40 years.

The results of the charity's efforts are equally startling new and refurbished orphanages and hospices, vital domestic appliances and medical equipment that most of us take for granted, shelter for vulnerable street children and for some, even the possibility of adoption. 

Under the overall management of a Board of Directors with Fiona Corcoran at the helm, the charity draws volunteers from every sector of Irish life, from the Cork Fire Brigade and local businesses to enthusiastic schoolchildren. However, such is the scale of the challenge that the charity is always looking for new supporters. Why not check the website and join the growing band of those determined to make a difference.

where your money goes

The Greater Chernobyl Cause's most pressing project is a dilapidated hospice in the north-eastern city of Semipalatinsk. This is a city on the edge of another nuclear nightmare: the Soviet Union's nuclear testing ground for over forty years. Many remote and entirely unprotected rural areas were exposed to a series of five hundred highly dangerous tests.

Fiona was appalled to discover that the contamination of villages and their populations was no accident, as at Chernobyl. This was a deliberate and tightly controlled exercise inflicted on innocent villagers. Many of whom suffer to this day.

Some are treated in the cancer hospitals and clinics of Semipalatinsk, the closest major city. They are the lucky ones with families and some financial resources. The really desperate and elderly with no relatives or support come to what is laughingly called a home for the elderly.  

That's not how Fiona remembers it from her first visit in 2009. She was reduced to tears by the filth and squalor the thirty-or so elderly residents lived in.

There were skeletal figures sprawled across broken bed springs.the living and the dying seemed to be thrown together cheek by jowl in fly-blown dormitories without proper food or hygiene

 Since then The Greater Chernobyl Cause has transformed the place, paying for a regular supply of healthy food (to replace the gruel that was an unappetising staple), proper bedding, winter clothing and medical supplies. But that's just part of a grander plan.

The charity has started to build an entirely new hospice in the grounds of the city's main hospital. The foundations have been laid and some funds raised. There is however a shortfall of €120,000 and the construction of this building that would see some of the poorest men and women imaginable housed in warmth and dignity.

President Nursultan Nazarbayev of Kazakhstan awarded Fiona its highest civilian honour for her outstanding humanitarian work. Fiona received an Honorary Diploma and medal at Ak Orda Palace Fiona is the first individual from the West to be honoured with this prestigious award.

Fiona is calling on the Irish tradition for spontaneous giving as much as she can. She battles hard through charity events to raise the additional money in a time of acute economic hardship in her own country. 

Her task is a formidable one, but this is a woman who has already altered the lives of many Kazak orphans beyond recognition. With the support of actor Jeremy Irons, a grim, state-run orphanage in Ayagus has been transformed. This is a desperately poor city where temperatures plunge to minus 35 in the winter months. The death rate at the city's orphanage was so alarming that the charity successfully appealed for half a million Euros. Now there's a new building with dormitories, classrooms, a dining room, showers and specialist medical care.

The main children's home in Semipalatinsk has also been a beneficiary, receiving enough help to build an entirely new wing and install modern washing machines and a laundry. Imagine life in an orphanage without that. Fiona Corcoran did, and then acted in the best interests of the children.

Building Programmes

We finance the construction and repair of Orphanages, Hospitals and Care Centres. We support regional economies by purchasing all building materials locally, and in turn, providing employment to the local workforce.

Medical / Care Programme

We are activley involved in Hospice work for the elderly. We provide overseas medical treatment for sick children and actively participate in the Barretstown Programme. Our Rescue and Rehabilitation programme provides families for homeless children enabling them to ultimately make a valuable contribution to society.

Humanitarian Aid

We send 40ft containers of Humanitarian Aid to Kazakhstan, Ukraine & Russia biannually. In addition, we operate a programme for overseas volunteers. Click here for more information on volunteering. By sending aid in sealed containers by sea we ensure that your donations reach those in dire need.

Education Programme

We run an education programme for schools and colleges in which we present the plight of the people of Kazakhstan and the Underground Children of Kiev, educating students about the wider world and the suffering that exists there. It incorporates a documentary showing about our work. Along with this we provide a photographic presentation, lecture and question and answer session. We also offer students the opportunity of gaining work experience at our offices and aid centre in Cork.


We facilitate couples in the process of overseas adoption.

Registered Charity 15314


contact details


Unit 4, Southside Industrial Estate, Pouladuff Road, Togher, Cork, IRELAND - T12 AW08

cause registration

Revenue (Charities Unit) (CHY): 15314

Charities Regulatory Authority (CRA): 20052546

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