Ukraine has found itself in a brutal war since the Russian army invaded the country in February 2022. The damage, both to infrastructure and to human lives, has been horrific. And when Rotary force of nature Martin Corkery saw the outcome of the war for himself on two visits to Ukraine, he knew he had to do something.
He told Local Ipswich News, “My initial focus was on childcare and education, but it became clear more basic needs of citizens were a greater priority.”
Every area of Ukrainian life needs money, of course, but Corkery was concerned that the money should get directly to the people in need, rather than disappear into the big black hole of government funds.
Corkery said, “Through Rotary Australia funds will be distributed to Rotary clubs in Ukraine, which will then direct help to where it is needed most in their local communities.”
It was Martin’s idea to hold a lunch where the Ukrainian ambassador to Australia, Vasyl Myroshnychenko, could speak to and meet the Ipswich community, something the ambassador was very keen to do.
Ambassador Myroshnychenko told Local Ipswich News, “It’s always good to visit other parts of Australia such as Queensland.”
The ambassador said he was hugely grateful for Martin Corkery’s initiative to raise funds for Ukraine. He said, “This will help the Ukraine Crisis Appeal. This helps get money to the people who really need it: the community, the people in need. It provides water, food and hope for displaced people.” The appeal has put millions of dollars to use in Ukraine, including on building shelters for displaced civilians and medical supplies.
Ambassador Myroshnychenko expressed his admiration for Corkery’s drive. He said, “He’s doing a phenomenal job, and when I realised his age (Corkery is 82), I was like, wow!”
Rotary Club of Ipswich City president Dave Cullen was enthusiastic about the lunch on 9 November. He was looking forward to strong support from members across all Rotary clubs in the district and from local business leaders.
“This is an example of how Rotary members demonstrate they are people of action. The need in Ukraine is still urgent. This fundraiser will help everyday Ukrainians.”
The president was also unstinting in his praise of Corkery, saying, “I also want to thank Martin Corkery and other supporters for their tireless work behind the scenes in bringing the ambassador to Ipswich for this major fundraiser to help citizens in Ukraine.”
Details: Click here
Tickets $110 per person, corporate tables of 10 $2,200.
(Corporate price includes an additional $1,000 donation.)