Seeing the plight of the people fleeing Ukraine, our Club decided they wanted to help.  After exploring a number of opportunities, we decided to hold an afternoon tea for them, to meet and greet them and try to identify their most urgent needs.  The event, which was held on 28 September, was a great success with 50 Ukrainians attending and thoroughly enjoying themselves.
We were assisted us in running the event by Olivia, who has lived here for some time and acted as our interpreter, and Sergei, who used to MC at weddings in Ukraine, as our MC for the day.  The event was instigated and set up by Eden Rigo with support from President Brian and Louise Hancock.
To our surprise, most of the Ukrainian people did not know each other as they had come from different parts of the country and had not previously been to an event together in Perth.  In this regard, the event was a great help to them as they met other people that had come from the same towns and cities in Ukraine. 
Sergei passed the microphone around and asked each person to introduce themselves and say a bit about themselves.  The interpreter advised us that many of their stories were heart wrenching, one lady recounted burying her husband, another told of her son and grandson being enlisted, and others of their city of 600,000 drained in population down to 100,000.  Whist we could not understand what they were saying, the expression was clear and conveyed the sadness of what is happening to their country. Although there were several tears shed, the dominant mood was of the day from being reunited with other Ukrainians in a safe country was happiness.
During the event, a continuous supply of food was prepared in the kitchen by Louise and handed out by the other Rotarians present.  Coffee, tea, beer, wine and soft drinks were also served and readily consumed.  To entertain the group of mostly older women, a modern dance routine was performed by Angelina.   
The primary purpose of the event was to determine what Rotary can do to assist these people.  To this end, a questionnaire was circulated asking the attendees what we could assist them with.  Eden has collected the handouts and will evaluate them to assist us in developing a list of tasks that we can assist the Ukrainians with.
Later in the day, Father Igor Holovko, the parish priest of the Ukrainian Catholic Church of St John the Baptist in Maylands, assembled a choir with him in front of the crowd and led the group in singing a number of songs, which the group joined in finishing with an enthusiastic performance of the Ukrainian national anthem.    
The guests were very appreciative of Rotary holding the event, which was considered a great success.  One guest said it was the highlight of her month.  We are likely to hold further events of this type, which provided a valuable mental health booster, but we are keen to develop a more formal project encompassing other avenues to assist them once the results of our questionnaire have been processed.
In addition to holding this event, to provide an immediate response, our Club has made a donation to Shelterbox Australia to assist them to support the people displaced from their homes in Ukraine.    Shelterbox are working in Moldova and coordinating with partners in Poland to get aid into Ukraine with the first shipment of Shelterboxes dispatched in April. 
Several members of the Club have also donated to the Rotary charity fund into which tax deductable donations can be made.  Thanks to the generosity of donors around the world, Rotary raised more than $15 million in contributions. These are already helping provide people with essential items such as water, food, shelter, medicine and clothing. So far, 249 disaster response grants, totalling $8.0 million in 29 countries, have been awarded to support people affected by the war. The Rotary Foundation will continue to use the donations for humanitarian aid in and around Ukraine, and districts can apply for these grants until 31 December 2022.