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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Ukrainian describes leaving Kyiv, using Rotary network to help others

By Iryna Bushmina, District 2232 (Ukraine) Rotaract Representative

Iryna Bushmina
Iryna Bushmina

I left Kyiv in the first hours of the war. My sister, her husband, her 3-month-old baby and a cat were in the car. When we reached the border, men were already not allowed to leave the country, so I went on with my sister and a little nephew. We were five days in the car, six days until we got to Vienna.

We stayed for the night in different countries three times. These were not hotels but homes of Rotary and Rotaract families. I used to just say that Rotary International is a big family, now I really believe it. And I am convinced that this is a family that will stand by you. These are no longer beautiful words to me, this is reality.

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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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How Rotary is assisting recovery in Puerto Rico

By José Lucas Rodríguez, governor of Rotary District 7000 (Puerto Rico)

Puerto Rico is an island in the Caribbean, the smallest of the Greater Antilles, which is distinguished by its natural beauties, the talent of Puerto Ricans in music, arts, and sports, and above all for the warmth of its people.

But the so-called island of Enchantment was transformed by what already has been classified as the most catastrophic event in the history not only of Puerto Rico, but of the United States. More than a month after Hurricane Maria hit Puerto Rico, our people are still struggling to recover from the impact of this natural phenomenon, which left so much desolation in its wake. Continue reading

Reflections from earthquake stricken Italy

Earthquake damage central Italy

Geraniums hang from the railing in front of a house destroyed by the earthquake in central Italy.

By Luca Della Volta, Charter President of Rotary E-Club 2042 Italia and 2016-17 Service Projects Committee Chair. ( Read it in Italian )

I wanted to write about how much love and support Rotary is bringing to the areas of Italy devastated by the recent earthquake. But my words fail me, so I have to first write from the heart about what I have seen.

I feel as if death has entered me. My lungs inhale the dust of the earth. My feet walk amid debris. My hands touch stone that suddenly gave way, smashing hopes and dreams. Continue reading

Rebuilding smiles in earthquake-torn Nepal

Rotary members in Nepal build shelters for earthquake survivors.

Rotary members in Nepal build shelters for earthquake survivors.

By Roshan Maharjan, Rotary E-Club of District 3292 Nepal

I was finishing a lecture at the Academia International College in Lalitpur, Kathmandu, Nepal, on 25 April when the ground began to shake with increasing violence and I had trouble standing on my own. Supporting myself on the side of a computer table, I noticed my students were very frightened. As I consoled them as best I could, I also worried about my mother, brother, sister, and wife and children. It wasn’t until I got the text from them that all was OK that I could breathe a sigh of relief, but I was suffering from a terrible headache. The earthquake was 7.9 in magnitude. Continue reading

When the floods came, Rotary stepped in to help

150501_ramaswamyBy Thamilarasu Ramaswamy, president-elect of the Rotary Club of Madras Vadapalani, Tamil Nadu, India

This is my Rotary story. In November of 1995, heavy rains created floods that uprooted trees and ravaged agricultural fields in the state of Tamil Nadu, India, paralyzing many communities. The district of Tiruvannamalai was the hardest hit. District administrators worked hard to help those affected by the floods, providing food and clothing.

In one subdistrict known as Sengam, there are many weavers who make dhoties and sarees on manually operated hand looms operated by wooden pedals. Many of these looms ended up under water, destroying the equipment and the ability of these weavers to carry on their craft and make a living. In addition, many lost all or most of their belongings. Continue reading