Why we chose Mama 86

There are a number of organizations throughout the world working to ameliorate the effects of the Chernobyl accident. We chose Mama 86 because they were local, small, will not see a dime from the tens of thousands of dollars that will be raised by Greenpeace in the US or with any of the other large fund raising drives, and we were impressed by the holistic approach they have to the problems affecting their area. Mama 86 is not only providing medical assistance to Children and Mothers affected by this disaster, they are actively trying to change the highly burdonsome energy policy in the Ukraine, as well as, promote a new general environmental consciousness.

Brief Description of Mama 86

MAMA-86 was founded in 1990 by a group of young Kiev mothers who were not happy with their surroundings. They were upset with their children's diseases, they were not happy with shortages of bread and milk, and they did not like Dr.Gale's forecasts which promised flourishing child cancer 10 years after the Chernobyl disaster. So as a group of highly educated, active and independent mothers, MAMA-86 decided to carry out targeted assistance to mothers and children and to ensure the conceptual development of a new environmental mindfulness. This is not an easy task in the Ukraine, due to the absolute lack of public assistance offered in this country.

Nevertheless, the independent medical laboratory of MAMA-86 for child examination became operational in 1993. The laboratory uses the immunochemiluminiscence technique (patented method of N.I.Yakuba, an Ukrainian pediatrician). Last Autumn they obtained the Ukrainian Ministry of Public Health Certificate. Since then, they have examined approximately 3,500 Kiev children and gave them recommendations on health improvement, medical treatment and disease prophylactics. Additionally, every year MAMA-86 organizes "healthy excursions" for children and Kiev Mothers to the remaining environmentally clean regions of Ukraine to decrease the potential for radiation related illnesses (i.e., weaken immune system, thyroid cancer, leukemia). Due to these efforts more than 1000 Kiev mothers and children improved their health. The following projects are also under way at MAMA-86: EcoHealth, environmental education for pre-schoolers and young schoolchildren, and workshops on changing consumption and production patterns (environmental aspects).

MAMA-86 also produces a monthly newsletter which aims to inform the readers about MAMA-86 NGO and its major programs, and to discuss health, social, and environmental issues (e.g., nuclear power, alternative medicine, Ukrainian energy policy, role of women in the rapidly changing World, etc.).

One contributor writes in a Mama 86 newsletter, "Such gifts (i.e., nuclear power) are known as white elephants. The king of Siam, when he wanted to destroy his enemies, presented them with a white elephant with a huge appetite. It was not of any use but its maintenance costs destroyed any economy. It was not easy to get rid of either, because it was considered a sacred animal and any attempt to kill it for meat might be seen by the king of Siam as blasphemy."

MAMA-86 has no fixed membership. Their activities concern: society, health & environment, women, children, and charity. MAMA-86 is a non-profit, non-governmental organization which is supported by foundation funds and non-governemental sources; they are currently participating in the development of new Ukrainian law on NGOs.

Anna Syomina (Director)
ul. Michailovskaja 22a