Holly Morris: Why stay in Chernobyl? Because it’s home.

Holly Morris: Why stay in Chernobyl? Because it's home.

Chernobyl was the site of the world’s worst nuclear accident and, for the past 27 years, the area around the plant has been known as the Exclusion Zone. And yet, a community of about 200 people live there – almost all of them elderly women. These proud grandmas defied orders to relocate because their connection to their homeland and to their community are “forces that rival even radiation.”

Holly Morris tells the stories of these women, called the Babushkas of Chernobyl who live in  the radioactive Dead Zone surrounding Chernobyl’s Reactor No. 4. This is a community of elderly women, defiantly clinging to their ancestral homeland. While most of their neighbours have long since fled and their husbands have gradually died off, this stubborn sisterhood is hanging on — even, oddly, thriving — while trying to cultivate an existence on some of the most toxic acres on Earth. Holly first came across these resilient women while filming in Ukraine

Why they chose to live here after the disaster, defying the authorities and endangering their health, is a remarkable tale—about the pull of home, the healing power of shaping one’s destiny and the subjective nature of risk.

Inspired by the people they met in Chernobyl, especially those who have chosen to stay in the ‘Dead Zone’ despite the health warnings, Holly Morris and Director of the Ukraine show Anne Bogart have launched their campaign and brand new film venture www.thebabushkasofchernobyl.com

Watch Holly explain more about the film in this fascinating Ted Talk: