What a spectacularly amazing turn-out there was in SkyCourt for the launch of the fantastic new version of The Wonder of You. Once a huge hit for Elvis Presley, the song is riding high in the iTunes singles charts with the aim of making it No. 1 at Christmas while also supporting an awesome County Clare project at two orphanages near Minsk in Belarus.
Husband and wife team, Don and Joanne O’Sullivan, visited Goradische Orphanage and were overwhelmed by the work being done by the Burren Chernobyl Project (BCP).
Don recalls that it was back in 2000 when Canon Brendan O’Donoghue and Fr Tom Ryan formulated a plan for a unique Millennium Project to be shared by parishioners in Shannon.
Canon Brendan and Fr Tom believed that if the parish could collectively subscribe €20,000, the money could be used to transform the lives of orphaned children living in squalor at the Goradische Orphanage.
Goradische is a small town two hours drive from Minsk, the capital of Belarus. The orphanage houses 220 children and young adults with special needs aged from 4 to 25.
Since the Shannon Parish took on the initiative, which now comes under the Burren Chernobyl Project, the entire infrastructure has changed dramatically, including a new building and major renovations of the older buildings.
Almost 18 years after the Shannon Parish began its Millennium Project, a poor and ramshackle facility has been transformed into a caring home for those who live there.
Each year a volunteer programme ensures a plentiful supply of Clare visitors to keep up the good work of providing humanitarian aid, playground equipment, life’s little essentials, extra food and fruit as well as beds and bedding.
The generosity of Clare people helped purchase a van for daily use at the orphanage as well as apple trees for the orchard and fish for the lake. In addition, BCP provides summer visits to Ireland for the children, while in Belarus it pays to bring the children to holiday camps.
The list goes on and the need is great, but BCP continues to support Goradische orphanage with infrastructural improvements, supports for teachers and a continuous flow of volunteers to help out during the summer.
For Don and Joanne O’Sullivan, their biggest reward for going to Goradische was the love shown to them by the children. Joined by the combined choirs from St Tola’s and St Conaire’s schools, the couple has recorded The Wonder of You to raise much-needed funds for Goradische Orphanage.
Production of the recording was handled by their son DJ, a guitarist with the rock band Big Generator, who was able to call in the help of his music industry contacts.
Joanne and Don are inviting people to please buy the CD or download it from iTunes or Google. As Joanne says, “The Wonder of You will be forever in our hearts, with your help it could be forever in the charts.”
Reflecting on his visit to Goradische during the summer, Don O’Sullivan wrote, “it’s anything but perfect, it has come a long way and there is a very long way to go.”
More than 170 volunteers including school children, adults, musicians and production crew have been involved in producing The Wonder of You. Now’s the chance to play your part and support this worthy project.
Read the story of Don O’Sullivan’s visit here: