Valentina Fyodorovna Smolnikova was born on November 27, 1941 in Pinsk/ Belarus. After finishing school she worked as an intern for two years at the Faculty for Paediatrics at the Medical Institute in Lvov. She later qualified as a paedriatric surgeon and practiced as a paediatric physician at the Uvarovici Hospital in the Gomel region, followed by nine years in Sverdlovskaya in Russia. In 1979 she returned to Belarus to work as a paediatrician and later as the district children’s physician in the Buda-Koshelevo District Hospital. She went into retirement in 2005 and lives as a senior citizen in Buda-Koshelevo.
In 1986, at the time of the Chernobyl catastrophe, she was working as a paediatrician. She was ordered by the Ministry of Health and the local health authorities to take part in the organisation of medical aid for the victims that had been evacuated to the district of Buda-Koshelevo. She worked in mobile medical clinics in the contaminated and evacuated areas and by the creation of a Chernobyl registry. She received the title of „Liquidator of the effects of the catastrophe in the Chernobyl nuclear power plant“.
She founded the committee „Children of Chernobyl“ in 1991 in the district of Buda Koshelevo that later became the district branch of the Belarussian non-profit foundation „Children of Chernobyl“. Through the Chair of the Foundation Genadiy Grushevoyi, she established contact in the same year with the society „Initiative Kinder von Tschernobyl“in Kamenz / Saxony and to the network of Chernobyl groups that emerged at that time in Saxony. In 2007 Valentina Smolnikova was instrumental in the founding of the Buda-Koshelevo Society „Aid for Children of Chernobyl“ that has successfully continued the work of the district branch.
Despite hindrances and hostility, Valentina Smolnikova became the Chair of the district branch and later a member of the Board of Directors of the “Children of Chernobyl”, being largely responsible for establishing cooperation with several German, Spanish, Italian and Japanese groups. It was possible, through this partnership, to help more than 4,600 children from the Buda-Koshelevo district to take convalescent vacations abroad. The Society has received 59 deliveries of aid that they passed on to the sick and needy, as well as to hospitals, schools and children’s day care centres. It is presently realising about ten projects of its own to give aid to victims of the Chernobyl catastrophe and other needy people. Valentina Smolnikova is particularly active in monitoring radiation and medical aid for sick children. Among other activities, she runs a project on this for the Society.
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