Russian tennis star Maria Sharapova has announced a scholarship program for the students from the Chernobyl-affected areas of Belarus. The program with the total funding of $210,000 is a joint initiative of the Maria Sharapova Foundation and UN Development Program. The scholarships will be granted to 12 talented Belorussian students, and will cover their education costs for four years. “I’ve always dreamed of making my own contribution to restoring the region I have a personal connection with,” said Maria Sharapova, whose parents lived in Gomel. “Providing young people with an opportunity to get higher education is part of the efforts meant to create a better future for the affected region”.