A YEAR on from the start of the war in Ukraine, district Rotarians who have been working closely with Ukrainian refugees say they’re amazed by the resilience and determination of the Ukrainian people.
Since last year, Rotary Clubs have been assisting around 70 Ukrainian refugees who fled their war-torn homes and are now residing in the nearby Logan City Council area.
Local Ipswich News last week highlighted the work of two Ipswich Rotarians in Martin Corkery and Dr Denis Bartrum who are about to go on a mercy mission to war-torn Ukraine on behalf of Rotary International.
The nearby Rotary Clubs of Logan, Beenleigh and Mount Gravatt, are also doing their part by providing funding to help Ukrainian refugees meet their basic living costs, participate in education and secure jobs.
Examples of funded items include a laptop so a child can complete his schoolwork, Woolworths gift cards for necessities like groceries and petrol, and a washing machine and refrigerator for a family in need.
Reverend Emil Rahimov, pastor at Brisbane Slavic Baptist Church in Meadowbrook said the refugees were far from unemployable, being highly skilled in fields ranging from engineering to law, beekeeping, and welding.
“These are intelligent, well-educated, hard-working men and women who were not planning to leave Ukraine.
“Had they been planning to migrate, they would’ve studied English, they would’ve translated their documents.”
Help for Ukrainian refugees has included purchasing a $2400 welding helmet with built-in breathing apparatus so a Ukrainian man with respiratory issues could get a job, while another was supplied a ride on mower so he could start a lawn mowing business.
Reverend Emil says most of the refugees are women, children, and men above 60 years old, with men aged 18 to 60 unable to leave Ukraine due to mandatory conscription.
“It’s tough for the women and kids to leave their husbands and dads behind.”
“If I would ask them what they want the most, they’d say: we want the most for the war to be over and be with our families, but we realise it’s beyond our control so we are trying to do something to make our lives better.”