Rotary welcomes Ukrainian refugees to communities

Rotary welcomes Ukrainian refugees to communities

Both in the Midlands and in Hampshire, Rotary clubs have been helping those who have joined their communities after leaving Ukraine.

Four local Rotary Clubs, Bilston and Wolverhampton West, Tettenhall, City of Wolverhampton and Wednesfield, have joined forces to secure £4000 from Rotary Foundation funds in order to help Ukrainian refugees who have arrived in Wolverhampton, with 119 refugees arriving in the city so far.

The Foundation has made 11 million US dollars available to Rotary clubs worldwide in an effort to respond to the Ukraine crisis.

Following a successful bid for funding, the four clubs decided to channel their support through the Ukrainian Church, the Ukrainian Club and Community Centre and Razom Café to provide a focal point for families and individuals arriving from Ukraine.

The first of a series of presentations took place in the presence of the Mayor of Wolverhampton, Councillor Sandra Samuels OBE, who is a member of the Rotary Club of Bilston and Wolverhampton West.

Words just cannot express our appreciation to all four Rotary clubs for their kindness and help to the new arrivals in Wolverhampton’s Ukrainian community.”

Bob Stolz, representing the club, handed over their club’s delivery of goods, comprising £1000 worth of educational, communication and language items.

More presentations are to follow as the refugee families come forward to provide details of shoe and school uniform sizes for children, clothing needs and a wide variety of other items such as pushchairs, cots and musical instruments.

Hryhorij Kowalczuk (‘Greg’) of the Community Centre said: “By giving these items and equipment, you have not only helped our guests with the material things they need, but helped them settle down mentally, into English life.

“Words just cannot express our appreciation to all four Rotary clubs for their kindness and help to the new arrivals in Wolverhampton’s Ukrainian community. It is humbling to see such kindness.

“We would also like to thank the Rotary club members who have become regular volunteers at our Razom Welcome Café & Shop every Friday.”

Down towards Hampshire, The Rotary Club of Alton recently welcomed its newest member Biola Ameri – a refugee from Ukraine.

Biola (right) says her and her children have been made to feel incredibly welcome to Alton.

Biola, a pharmacist and mother of two, has been living in Alton for four months with Rotary member Lisa Hillan. Lisa and Biola both enjoy supporting other hosts and guests through the Ukraine-Alton Mutual Aid organisation.

Biola’s husband, Igor, is still in Ukraine working with relief organisations. Biola said her daughters have settled well in school in Alton and have been helped to pick up English quickly.

Lisa Hillan said it had been a great pleasure to have Biola and her daughters staying. She said, “We’re pleased to have been able to offer stability for Biola and her family – we get on so well together.”

Biola says she has been made to feel at home in Alton and by Alton Rotary President Mike Sanders welcomed her to membership of the club.