Connecting with others through Ukrainian virtual club

Editor’s note: The following personal account is an excerpt from a story about Rotary in Ukraine compiled by Rotary Magazin for Germany and Austria. Past and current conflicts have had a significant impact on Rotary in Ukraine, making members there more resolute.

By Tetiana Godok, president-elect of the Rotary E-Club of Ukraine

Tetiana Godok
Tetiana Godok

My history with Rotary began when I was a senior in high school. The newly formed Rotaract Club of Yalta ambitiously set out to establish an Interact club, and I was fortunate enough to be a part of it.

I didn’t know much about Rotary, and the complex club organization befuddled me at first. But over several months, we visited Interact clubs in Kharkiv and Cherkasy, and I came to learn more about Rotary and gradually immersed myself in the ideas and values of this service organization. With strong convictions about the role I might play, I joined the Rotaract Club of Yalta, serving as president and treasurer, and set a goal to get to know Rotaract all over Europe.

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Austrian aid convoy drives all night to deliver supplies for Ukraine

Members of the Rotaract Club of Klagenfurt-Wörthersee, Austria, collect supplies,
Members of the Rotaract Club of Klagenfurt-Wörthersee, Austria, collect medical supplies, food, sleeping bags, and generators for transport to the Polish-Ukrainian border.

By Sebastian Adami, Rotaract Club Klagenfurt-Wörthersee, Austria

On the evening of 2 March, I set out with a team of Rotaract members and colleagues from six nations to deliver relief supplies to contacts waiting for us near the border of Poland and Ukraine. Our five-vehicle convoy traveled through the night to get there. But we were heartened by the response we saw all around us, people flashing their lights or giving us other signs of encouragement as they saw our relief supply convoy marked by flags that identified what we were doing.

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Performing under pressure

Editor’s Note: Jeremy Opperman is a member of Rotary’s Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion taskforce and a regular contributor to this blog on issues related to disability inclusion.

By Jeremy Opperman, Rotary Club of Newlands, Cape Town, South Africa

Like countless others, I watched, read, and listened in impotent and morbid fascination at the horrors unfolding in Ukraine. But one rather different interview caught my ear, while listening to the BBC.

It was the manager of the Ukrainian winter Paralympic team, still competing in Beijing at the time. Speaking in fluent English, with exhausted clarity and indelible sadness etched into every syllable, he tried to articulate how the team members were feeling about their country literally disintegrating in their absence.

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Providing shelter after Hurricanes Iota, Eta

Maria and her family
Maria’s family had to abandon their house in search of safer shelter. The aid they received from ShelterBox helped them rebuild their home after the storm. Photo courtesy ShelterBox

By Céline Chhea Operations Coordinator, ShelterBox

Through my work as an Operations Coordinator at ShelterBox, I have had the opportunity to work with Rotary clubs around the world. But the work together has never been more instrumental than last year during the pandemic.

In November 2020, Hurricanes Iota and Eta brought a wave of destruction across Central America.  ShelterBox responded in Honduras, where an estimated 82,307 homes were damaged and 174,241 people had to shelter in collective centers.  

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Volcanic ash in West Indies puts animals in need

Feed animals on Saint Vincent
Rotary members organized a large-scale collection to feed, shelter, and provide medicine for animals affected by the volcanic ash that destroyed pastureland on the island of Saint Vincent and the Grenadines.

By Elizabeth Guybert, Rotary Club of Grande Terre Pointe Des Châteaux, Guadeloupe, French West Indies

In April, the successive eruptions of the Soufrière volcano devastated part of the island of Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, leading to an urgent evacuation of the population from the affected areas.

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