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Voices and Stories Ukraine – The Trip

“to tell stories about the inner strength of people." - Valarie
Lets hope when this is all over there is more than just pictures

This week I had the pleasure of visiting both the Springfield and Eugene Southtowne Rotary Clubs. Great people and the lunches were stellar, no “rubber chicken” for these Rotarians.

Going to Ukraine and putting you in personal contact with the people.

The trip is set the ticket is purchased but we still need your help with the expenses.

Beginning in early March, we will be traveling throughout Ukraine and neighboring countries. We will visit Rotary projects, talk with the people and share these stories with the world. The tour will be broadcast live and on-demand through Rotary networks, partner networks and social media.

Let me ask you a couple of questions; Would you like to hear from the people we are helping? Hear their stories and ask them questions? Who would you like to collect those stories?

When you and I go to a village and ask questions they tidy up the house and give us the answers they think we want to hear. This program is different, we are hiring displaced Ukrainians to talk to Ukrainians and collect the real story. We would like to introduce you to Valarie here in this article.

Progress on the Ukrainian Refugee Storytelling

Earlier DG Vitalii Lesko asked us if we could also help launch a contest for Ukrainian refugees. Something where they could submit text, poems, stories and short videos and have them published on the Voices and Stories of Ukraine website. Something easily accessed by western countries. They would receive prizes and know their message and stories are being heard. It would give them something to focus on maybe a little hope in a difficult time.

We set up WhatsApp and Telegram accounts (two popular and free platforms) and will post their contest entries as articles on the website. The contest will begin in mid-March and the Rotary clubs will contact the displaced people (refugees outside of Ukraine) and let them know about the contest.

Hopefully, this is something that we as Rotarians can support by offering prizes, reading, listening to and commenting on their posts.

The first two weeks of the trip are scheduled.

I fly into Warsaw on March first and will visit the clubs, refugee camps, projects and meet with Valarie.

Introducing Valerie Chernenko, a Field Podcaster candidate.

Valerie has a degree in Journalism and has been working in media all her life. She and her daughter fled from Kyiv when the war began and they currently live in Poland. She continues to work with Ukrainian TV channels (as a freelancer) preparing materials about how war refugees live in Poland.

Valarie would like to “tell stories about the inner strength of people. Stories about finding solutions and getting out of various situations. About paradoxes, about how life can be amazing. Despite difficult circumstances, it is important for people to give hope and faith.”

On March 5 I take the train to Kyiv, a twenty hour trip, deliver the humanitarian supplies from the Springfield Rotary club and meet with PDG Sergii Zavadskyi the Moshchun project coordinator. This is a Rotary project to rebuild an entire town, see the details here.

We (that’s you an I) will visit the ‘Rotary humanitarian hub” Rotary clubs and projects. All broadcast live and on-demand.

On March 10 (we) are scheduled to attend Ukrainian PETS. For you President Elects this may be a very interesting visit.

Where we go from here is totally up to you. If the money runs out it’s back to Warsaw and a, not so quick, flight back to Oregon.

If the money is there we will spend another week visiting clubs and projects in Ukraine, make our way to Odessa on the Black Sea, then to Moldova, Romania, Hungary, Slovakia and back to Warsaw. We have Field Podcaster candidates in Moldova and Romania to visit. There are many Rotary clubs, and projects that would love to meet you.

Keep an eye on whats going on. Jump in when you like. Your donations and support help us share these incredible stories.

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