Dear fellows Rotarians from Great Britain and Ireland, today (May 15th), as I write this article for Rotary magazine from my home in Odessa, it is the 81st day of military aggression against Ukraine.
Eighty-one days of heroic resistance of the Ukrainian people and Rotarians’ response to the humanitarian crisis as a result of the military actions.
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Since the beginning of the war, the Ukrainian District of 62 Rotary clubs has created a Co-ordination Committee to respond to the challenges in Ukraine.
Each club has a representative and we meet online twice daily to discuss issues facing our clubs and communities.
Our Rotary activity in Ukraine falls into the following three areas:
- The first involves providing help to our hospitals, where a large number of wounded civilians are being treated.
- Second, we are working to co-ordinate humanitarian aid. Rotary clubs and districts are sending aid via trucks, ships, and air carriers. We built the network of Rotary’s humanitarian hubs along Ukraine’s borders with Poland, Slovakia, Hungary, and Romania. They have received all the supply items and sent them across the border to our cities. Then, our hubs distribute this humanitarian help to the cities that are in dire need of it.
- Third, the District is actively involved in help to internally displaced people in western cities in Ukraine and support to eastern cities citizens hidden in shelters from the bombs and missiles.
Our district has set up special accounts for donations from Rotarians, Rotary clubs, and Districts from around the world.
As of mid-May, the Rotary world had donated about $450,000, including donations from Great Britain. Special thanks to RC Elgin (Moray, Scotland), RC Bideford (Devon), RC Oxford, RC Roborough (Devon) and District 1145 (South London, Surrey, Sussex).
Your donations helped us address issues that Ukrainian clubs are asking the committee to address at the request of communities.
An interesting fact emerges during the war. Thanks to our joint activities, Rotary is becoming more visible in the cities of Ukraine, and there are people who want to join us.
Thus, in the last two months, the Rotary community of Ukraine has increased by almost 50 members.
Moreover, initiative groups are appearing in cities where Rotary doesn’t present. Recently we applied for starting a new satellite club.
Recently, we have established a strong partnership with Rotarians from Great Britain and Ireland through the Rotary GB&I Ukraine Crisis Taskforce.
Since the beginning of the war, the Ukrainian District of 62 Rotary clubs has created a Co-ordination Committee to respond to the challenges in Ukraine.”
We have exchanged ideas for a better understanding of our current and future needs, what is and isn’t working for us, and how the taskforce can ensure appropriate and effective support despite the ever-changing situation in different parts of Ukraine.
One of the examples of this successful partnership is the humanitarian assistance to Ukrainian disabled people and wounded soldiers provided by RC Stratford (east London), RC Isles of Scilly, RC Lviv International, and RC Kharkiv Multinational.
On behalf of Rotarians in Ukraine, I would like to say a big thank you to all Rotary members of Great Britain and Ireland who donated to Rotary Disaster Response Fund or D2232 direct accounts, who organised humanitarian aid deliveries and who support Ukrainian families forced to move from Ukraine to Great Britain & Ireland.
We feel your support and we have strong feeling that we are not alone during the biggest challenge in the history of our country.
Glory to Ukraine!