After the break-up of the USSR in 1991, the former Soviet Republic of Belarus became independent.
Belarus is among those countries most seriously contaminated by the radiation fallout following the nuclear reactor catastrophe in Chernobyl, Ukraine, in 1986. Since then, children who live in the contaminated regions are up to one hundred times more likely to be diagnosed with thyroid cancer than those in uncontaminated regions.
Above all it is families with a lot of children or single mothers and people working on the land who do not have the means to obtain a diagnosis in good time, and often it is already too late for effective treatment of the disease.
According to the World Health Organisation (WHO), in 2014 Belarus had the highest alcohol consumption rate in the world. Over the past five years the number of drug addicts among school pupils and students has risen eightfold. Alcohol and drug abuse is widespread and destroys innumerable families. Over half of all new marriages will end in divorce.
On the other hand, many parents are prepared to accept children from difficult social situations into their families and give them a loving upbringing. However, in most cases this fails due to insufficient living space and their inability to afford extra space.