Our Club, in conjunction with the Karrinyup Rotary, hosted another Christmas Party for the Ukraine Refugees living in Perth. The event was opened with a prayer from Vasyl Olevych, the Father from the Ukrainian Orthodox church of Saint Nicholas the Wonderworker.  The party, held on 14 January, was a great success, with 150 people attending. 
The entertainment commenced with a modern play referencing the current situation, which was performed by the group known as "Vertep By Grown-ups".  This recently formed group consists mostly of displaced Ukrainians, with members ranging in age from 10 to 50, despite the group's name suggesting it is for adults.Vertep holds significant importance in Ukrainian culture as a Christmas celebration, and in Perth, they presented a modernized rendition of it.  The play's script, written by Yuriy Safronov from St. Louis, USA, was crafted specifically for the Perth Ukrainian Community and is now also performed in the USA.  The story revolves around the conflict of Evil vs Good, with characters representing contemporary issues in Ukraine's war. King Herod's alliance with Moscow is mentioned, and Mother Ukraine emphasizes the protection of the people and children of Ukraine.
Further entertainment was provided by the Echoes of Ukraine, a young choir borne out of a need to support people who have been displaced by the Russian invasion of Ukraine.  Ukrainians are renowned for their love of culture, be it music, art or dance, and many of the guests joined the choir in song.  During the Twilight Market for the Rotary Club of Mundaring a group of Ukrainians spontaneously started singing.  Marta, the head of the choir, took the opportunity and invited anyone who wanted to sing to come for a get together and from that call out, Echoes of Ukraine was borne.
Since then, the choir has participated in numerous festivals, rallies and concerts to bring awareness to the greater community of Ukraine, and its plight at this time.  The choir members consist of people displaced by the war in Ukraine, earlier immigrants and members who were born in Australia. The conductor, Volodymyr Liaschenko, a conductor from Cherkasy University, came to Australia after the war started with his wife and daughter.
One of the highlights of the day for Club members was hearing Jingle Bells sung in Ukrainian.  Although the words are different, it’s clearly recognizable from the tune. A recording of this, made on another occasion, can be heard through this link.Ava Demir and Emir Kaya then performed a Crimean Tatar dance called "Haytarma," which in Crimean Tatar means "Return."  Crimean Tatars are the indigenous people of the Crimea peninsula, belonging to the Turks ethnic group.  Following the decline of the USSR in the 1990s and the breakdown of the Soviet Union, Crimean Tatars returned from exile to Crimea, their homeland. Crimea is a part of Ukraine but is currently occupied by Russia, however the Ukrainians strongly believe that Crimea will return to Ukraine.
Face painters Karoline and Emma, who were organized by Robyn, delighted many of the children by decorating their faces with whiskers and other animal features.
The young children also enjoyed playing on the outdoor equipment and seemed impervious to the hot conditions, which resulted in us running out of soft drinks.
The Playroom, a toy shop in Osborne Park, very generously donated a range of presents which were then handed out to the numerous children that had come.  Thanks to the Rigo clan for arranging this.
A typical Australian sausage sizzle lunch was provided with several salads and cut fruit offered to round out the meal.   The Ukrainian guests brought some traditional Ukrainian pastry and other food to share.
Thanks to Dawn, Eden, Brian, Louise, Mariana, Lori Rigo and Dawn Palm (Karrinyup) the main drivers of the event and to all the others who assisted on the day.  At the end of the day a huge cake, baked according to the traditional recipe by Oksana Olevych, the priest’s wife, was given to the Rotarians by the Ukrainians to show their appreciation for the event. 
The event was a great success and was very appreciated by the Ukrainians judging from the emails expressing thanks that have been received and passed on.