Ukraine assistance program changes lives

Oleg and Oksana, their daughter Nastya, and twin boys Bohdan and Roman.

By Doug Lee, Rotary Club of Dixon, Illinois, USA

“Pajama Day?”

Since I’d “met” her in mid-October, Oksana had sent me hundreds of e-mails through Facebook Messenger. I’m pretty sure this was the first one that made me laugh out loud.

We’d just enrolled Oksana’s daughter Nastya in first grade at Washington School in Dixon, Illinois, and Nastya’s teacher had excitedly shared the schedule for the week ahead. When Oksana read Friday was Pajama Day, she was beyond perplexed.

In Ukraine, you see, schools don’t celebrate Pajama Day.

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Saving babies in Ukraine

Dr. Philips in yellow vest in back of van loaded with supplies
Dr. John Philip with some of the medical supplies the International Fellowship of Healthcare Professionals has collected for Ukraine.

By Dr. John Philip, a member of the Rotary Club of Newbury, Berkshire, England, and Chair of the International Fellowship of Healthcare Professionals

I recently traveled 1,350 miles from my home in Newbury, South England, through France, Germany, and Poland to the Ukraine border. My role was mainly one of providing navigation for the relief supplies we were delivering. I was joined by two Scottish colleagues, each driving a van packed tight with 120 boxes of vital medical equipment.

I’d be lying if I said I didn’t have some trepidation about the journey, but it was one I felt compelled to make. I felt a deep sense of personal responsibility, both to the Rotary members who’ve generously supported the International Fellowship of Healthcare Professionals’ relief work, and to all the Ukrainians whose lives this equipment could ultimately save.

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Helping Ukraine: from medical supplies to generators

Volunteers stand in front of supplies in Ukraine
A team from, including Rotary members from Georgia, USA, deliver supplies and generators to communities in Ukraine. Photo courtesy

By Emory Morsberger, Rotary Club of Gwinnett County, Georgia, USA

In August I wrote about my June 2022 trip to Ukraine, where I saw firsthand the devastation families were facing as they struggled to survive in the midst of war. A lot has happened since then.

In conjunction with the first anniversary of the war, teams from the nonprofit we established,, will be installing 45 new generators across Ukraine’s frontlines and in impacted cities and rural villages. It will be our nonprofit’s third mission in 2023.

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A year of war in Ukraine

By John Hewko, General Secretary and CEO of Rotary International

Today is the one-year anniversary of the tragic war in Ukraine. It’s a war that never should have started. And it’s a conflict that has evolved into a non-stop humanitarian catastrophe because the Russia strategy is now to inflict as much pain on the civilian population of Ukraine as possible.

For a peace-based, humanitarian organization like Rotary, this type of conflict is heartbreaking. Yesterday was our 118th anniversary, and throughout our history, Rotary has always stood on the side of promoting peace and rebuilding from the ashes of destruction. Peace is a central goal of Rotary, and we work tirelessly to help avoid and stop armed conflicts. Our focus is on helping people in need and creating the conditions for lasting peace.

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North Carolina Rotarians welcome Ukrainian refugee families

The two women sit on a sofa with their children in their laps, and two dogs nearby
Natallia Melnik and Sviatlana Baranava and their children in Wilmington, North Carolina, USA.

By Dan Parks, Rotary Club of Wilmington East, North Carolina, USA

At the end of December, two Ukrainian families arrived in North Carolina, USA, after a whirlwind departure from Kyiv on Christmas day. They traveled through Warsaw and Chicago enroute to North Carolina. It’s been a busy three weeks as I’ve helped get the mothers signed up for Medicaid and their children enrolled in school or settled into daycare.

In late September, I was contacted by a representative from Welcome.US, a nonpartisan national initiative in the United States that was created to inspire, mobilize, and empower Americans from all corners of the country to support those seeking refuge here. The program started in September 2021 to assist those fleeing Afghanistan, but it has since expanded to embrace refugees from the war in Ukraine. Welcome.US is collaborating with Rotary to find hosts for refugee families.

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