Adi Roche

Adi Roche
Personal details
Born Clonmel, Tipperary, Ireland
Nationality Irish
Spouse(s) Seán Dunne
Residence Cork City, Ireland
Occupation Humanitarian

Adi Roche (born 1955, Clonmel, County Tipperary, Ireland) is a campaigner for peace, humanitarian aid and education, who has focused on the relief of suffering experienced by children in the wake of the 1986 Chernobyl nuclear disaster.

She is the chief executive of Irish-based charity Chernobyl Children International and in November 2010 received the Health Award at the World of Children Awards ceremony and the 2015 World of Children Alumni Award. Also in 2015, she won the Princess Grace Humanitarian Award from Prince Albert Of Monaco & the Ireland Fund.[1]

Early life

Adi Roche was born in Clonmel, Tipperary in 1955. After finishing secondary school she went to work for Aer Lingus.[2] She left in 1984 to work full-time as a volunteer for the Irish Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament. She devised a Peace Education Programme and delivered it in over fifty schools throughout Ireland. In 1990 she became the first Irish woman elected to the board of directors of the International Peace Bureau in Geneva.[3]

Chernobyl Children International

In 1991, Roche founded the Chernobyl Children International, to provide aid to the children of Belarus, Western Russia and Ukraine.[2]

Under Roche's leadership, Chernobyl Children International (CCI) has delivered over €100 million to the areas most affected by the Chernobyl nuclear disaster and has brought over 25,0200 children into Ireland on Rest & Recuperation. The organisation is an international development, medical, and humanitarian one that works with children and families who continue to be affected by the Chernobyl nuclear disaster of 1986.

Having been actively involved in the Chernobyl issue since the explosion in 1986, she organised and coordinated the first visit of Chernobyl children to Ireland on receipt of a plea from Belarus and continues to do so under the Rest and Recuperation Programme to this day. To date the programme has enabled over 25,000 children affected by the Chernobyl disaster to come to Ireland for vital medical treatment and recuperation, with terminally ill children attending Paul Newman's therapeutic recreation centre at Barretstown in Co Kildare.

Work with United Nations

Roche launched an exhibition of the Chernobyl disaster for the 15th Anniversary of the nuclear accident in the UN Headquarters in New York in 2001. The Chernobyl legacy was demonstrated through digital imagery, photographs and sculpture. Entitled Black Wind, White Land, the exhibition was a month-long, cross-cultural event featuring the works of artists depicting the suffering caused by the accident. It was deemed an outstanding success by the UN and had its European Premiere in Dublin in April 2002.

Adi continues to work with the United Nations to highlight the consequences of the Chernobyl disaster. Over the last decade she has contributed to UN-sponsored conferences and symposia on the fallout of Chernobyl. She has addressed Ambassadors to the UN General Assembly, UNESCO conference on Chernobyl, and the Manchester International Peace Festival. Roche has provided advice and suggestions to the UN Needs Assessment Mission and has made several submissions on how NGO's could best be helped in their attempts to deliver humanitarian aid to the most affected areas in Belarus, Ukraine and western Russia.

In July 2003 Adi was the keynote speaker at the launch of the International Chernobyl Research and Information Network (ICRIN) in Geneva, Switzerland. ICRIN is a joint-sponsored initiative by the UN and the Swiss Agency for Development and Co-operation. Adi was appointed to represent NGO's on the Steering Committee of ICRIN.

To mark the 18th Anniversary of the tragedy in April 2004, Adi was invited to speak at the UN General Assembly at their headquarters in New York and to screen the Oscar award-winning documentary Chernobyl Heart. Adi was also invited by UNDP to sit on the organising committee and act as the keynote speaker at the International Chernobyl Conference held in Minsk in April 2006 to mark the 20th Anniversary of the Chernobyl disaster. In 2004, Chernobyl Children International received official NGO status by the U.N.[4]

Honours and awards

Roche made a documentary, 'Black Wind, White Land', highlighting Chernobyl children's suffering and the following year she was awarded the European Woman Laureate Award and was crowned the Republic's Person of the Year.[3]

In 1997, Roche received Tipperary International Peace Award,[5] described as "Ireland's outstanding award for humanitarian work."[6] In 2001, she was awarded an honorary doctor of law degree by the University of Alberta, Canada. In 2007, Roche won the Robert Burns Humanitarian Award.

In 2010, Roche received the World of Children Health Award. Since then, Chernobyl Children International has saved the lives of thousands of children born with congenital heart defects. She also received the 2015 World of Children Alumni Award Honoree, for the "incredible impact she continues to have in the lives of the children of the Chernobyl region". Also in 2015, Roche won the Princess Grace Humanitarian Award.[7][4]


Roche stood for the office of President of Ireland as a coalition candidate for the Labour Party, Democratic Left and the Green Party at the 1997 presidential election.[8] Roche came fourth out of five candidates with almost 7% of the vote. During the campaign there were accusations of bullying made by former staff and associates of the Chernobyl Children's Project against Roche.[9]

See also


External links

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