Sacha, A Child of Chernobyl – a Documentary Film by Resumen Latinoamericano

March 30, 2021

Sasha; a Child of Chernobyl

Olexandr Savchenko, “Sacha,” was one year old when the explosion of the nuclear power plant Vladimir Ilich Lenin at Chernobyl occurred on April 26, 1986. He lived in Chernigov, a village in the Ukrainian countryside near the area of the accident. He got sick shortly afterward and doctors were unable to make a clear diagnosis because the healthcare system had collapsed while the then Soviet Union was close to disintegrating. Sacha’s condition worsened to the despair of his mother, Lidia Savchenko, who took her baby from one doctor to another without his getting better.  One day, other mothers in similar situations told her that there was a possibility that he could be treated on a small island far away. Sacha, it turns out, is one of the 26,000 boys and girls from Russia, Belarus, and the Ukraine who were treated in Cuba over a 21 year period after the nuclear accident at Chernobyl.

This is the context for the history told by the new documentary film; Sacha, A Child of Chernobyl, directed by Cuban film-makers Roberto Chile and Maribel Acosta Damas and produced by the Argentine news agency Resumen Latinoamericano.

The film is 39 minutes in length and gathers together testimony from the doctors and workers who participated in this campaign including the return of Sacha to Ukraine to be reunited with his people and family in 2019 and the testimony of the girls and boys who were fighting for their lives and received treatment in Cuba. It shows their gratitude, and their stories, with memories of the mothers and their children and the entrance into Pripyap, the town closest to the nuclear disaster, with desolation and sadness.  It also shows the hope and light from the island of Cuba which, while speaking another language and undergoing severe economic problems of its own, was able to extend an extraordinary gesture of human solidarity to save the lives and cure the sickness of thousands of children.

No one imagined that, only three months after finishing the filming in Cuba and Ukraine, another catastrophe would shake humanity, collapsing healthcare systems, leaving millions sick and dead, and creating a world economic crisis. Cuba, the inspiration for this story of humanity, once again has extended helping hands of solidarity of its doctors; yesterday it was for the victims of the Chernobyl disaster, and today facing the COVID-19 pandemic. Yesterday in Cuba, today around the world, once again without letting obstacles of distance or language interfere, to save the lives of people like Sacha.

Source: Resumen Latinoamericano-Cuba, translation Resumen – English