Locally here in Australia, communities, schools, local councils, Rotary groups and individuals have combined to provide massive support for the Ukraine People.
Article by PP Jaroslav (Jerry) Duma OAM, Rotary Club of Holroyd D9675, and Honorary Consul of Ukraine
Almost 6 months has elapsed since Russia’s latest unprovoked and unjustifiable invasion of a sovereign and democratic Ukraine which began on 24 February 2022.
Locally here in Australia, we have seen community after community, many schools, local councils, Rotary groups, as well as just ordinary individual people provide massive support both for the war effort in Ukraine, for those still needing humanitarian aid in Ukraine and of course for those that have landed in Australia as Displaced People with little or nothing – only the clothes on their back and maybe a small suitcase or bag of personal belonging for a family of sometimes 3 – 4 – or 5 people.
To date together with the magnificent efforts of Ukrainian Community volunteers, over almost 6 months some $6.8Million has been raised directly through the Ukraine Crisis Appeal – a joint fund being undertaken between the umbrella body of Ukrainians in Australia (AFUO – Australian Federation of Ukrainian Organisations) and Rotary Australia (through its RAWCS programme). Almost $6.2Million went through the programme. Overall, as at the end of July, Rotary Clubs throughout our Zone have been very generous with support – there have been some 263 donations involving 159 clubs in 18 (of 21) Districts in Australia, NZ and Pacific Islands – providing a combined total of $758,000 (of the $6.2Million) – about 12.2%…
And recently a further fund has been set up in conjunction with Rotary to support the Displaced People arriving in Australia from the war zone – this is the Ukraine Crisis Appeal Resettlement Fund.
Further Rotary, through its Medishare programme headed by our own very well-known Rotarian and respected colleague PDG Keith Roffey, has been instrumental in helping to source Medical Aid & medical equipment for Ukraine. In this area alone another volunteer, Dr Liz Paslawsky who heads the Ukrainian Community Medical Aid team, has together with Keith sourced Medical Aid locally throughout Australia to the value in excess of $5Million The donated material has been worked on by a myriad of Rotarian and community volunteers to sort and pack prior to shipment. Further medical aid and equipment has been sourced through this programme – which I am told is valued at $15Million - and more has been sourced internationally by Liz valued at millions of dollars. I am advised that at the moment the total value of this medical aid is in excess of $25 Million, if not $30Million.
From our perspective – these coordinated teams of some 100+ community and Rotary volunteers just nationally alone, are devoting their time so that others can live a life of freedom, democracy and peace is really the mainstay of what we Rotarians call “Service Above Self”.
And from a Rotary International perspective, the Rotary Foundation has raised more than $15Million in contributions to provide the people of Ukraine with essential items such as water, food, shelter, medicine and clothing
We truly are just one big family.