AwareNow: Issue 28: The Mental Edition

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“Now is not the time for PR, now is the time for action.” IRYNA: I've traveled a lot, so I often have a ready-made minimum set of things. Now I can remember a couple of important things:

1. A computer so that I can earn at least some money.

2. My cosmetics, because if I like myself, I have more energy to help others.

3. Soft toy rabbit to create comfort wherever I stop: another city, another country, basement or forest.

4. Rotaract badge and DRR necklace to make sure the Rotary family is always around.

ALLIÉ: Leaving behind your home, you were forced to find a new ‘home’ for right now. Where did you go? And who helped you?

IRYNA: My house is still in Kyiv. And it can't be changed so easily. Rotaract, Rotary and their friends help me with everything. Now I stopped in Vienna, Austria. But I am often invited to other cities and countries to give a speech and say what Ukraine really needs. And I still understand that if I, as a Ukrainian, stop, the whole world can give up.

Therefore, my home is and always will be Kyiv. My things are in Vienna, and I am ready to be wherever I am needed.

ALLIÉ: Once you got safe, you got to work. Tell us about your Rotary Family and the work you are doing to help others forced from their homes in Ukraine.

IRYNA: On the first day of the war, I wrote one message to an international WhatsApp group of Rotaractors. In the first hour, more than 500 people responded to help. The first project was - finding a place to live for those who left Ukraine. And in the beginning, there were more people willing to help than those who asked for help.

After the project with accommodation, 3 more directions were created: supplies, fundraising and dissemination of truthful information about the war. It is currently impossible to count how many projects have been done. At first it was more centralized and I could keep track of every help. Now clubs separately often help directly. And I'm very happy about that. I'm not ready to distract people with questions like, "What did you do for Ukraine?" I believe that everyone does what they can. If someone needs advice or help, my contacts are already everywhere and everyone can write to me directly. Now is not the time for PR, now is the time for action.

ALLIÉ: For those who want to help, there are so many places to donate to provide help for Ukraine. With so many places to give, what place is best to ensure funds actually get to where they need to go?

IRYNA: If we are talking about each person separately, then I would ask to donate to the account of the Ukrainian army. Because only with heavy equipment will we be able to save the lives of Ukrainians and defend our country.

But if we are talking about donations on behalf of Rotary and Rotaract, which cannot officially support military institutions, then give money to those you trust: twin clubs, Rotary District 2232 or Rotaract Europe, that money also goes to Ukraine.

ALLIÉ: The needs of refugees are great. Food, clothing, shelter, and medical supplies are all needed. But there’s more. In addition to preserving physical health, there is a need for protecting mental health. What can be done there? 9