Maria Sharapova, Goodwill Ambassador for the UN Development Program, will visit Chernobyl this summer in order to draw attention to problems that regions hit by the nuclear disaster still face.
Sharapova was born in Siberia a year after her parents were forced to leave the city of Gomel in Belarus, which was one of the areas most affected by radiation from the explosion at the Chernobyl nuclear power plant in neighboring Ukraine.
“A lot of families were moving, but not a lot of them could because they didn’t really know where to go,” said the three-times Grand Slam champion, who has never been to Chernobyl. “My mom’s dad happened to be working in Siberia, so that’s why we had a sense of direction.”
Shortly after taking on her Chernobyl role last year in February, Sharapova donated $100,000 to youth projects in Belarus, Russia and Ukraine, former Soviet republics where the after-effects of the disaster are still felt. (via RIA Novosti, photo via Maria Sharapova’s official site)