Last week marked one year of war in #Ukraine. Rotary continues to respond to the #humanitariancrisis in Ukraine. This week, member Valerie Bobyk reflected on the War during our #RotaryMinute.
On 26 January in Odesa, Mykola Stebljanko spent the day under attack. A barrage of missiles killed 11 people and destroyed critical infrastructure around Ukraine, including in the city where Stebljanko lives.
Despite not having working electricity, Stebljanko – who publishes Rotariets, Rotary’s Ukrainian magazine – was determined to report on the situation and Rotary’s response to it. He was able to make a cell phone call to describe an experience he’s had several times during the past year of the war.
"Sometimes we have time to go into the shelter, but sometimes there is no time — we're just sitting in our apartment and waiting for the end," he says. "Most of the targets are military or infrastructure objects. Not the buildings for civilians. But sometimes, the missiles go to civilian buildings. We just decided if it will be our building, that will be our destiny."
Even under fire, Stebljanko, a member of the Rotary Club of Ukraine, wanted to let members around the world know how important their efforts were. In an interview, he spoke about how members established humanitarian hubs along the Ukrainian border to receive supplies and distribute them throughout the county.
In the city of Kharkiv, he noted, Rotary members who own a shopping center donated the space to store supplies.
"They provided a whole underground level for the humanitarian hub," Stebljanko says. "They provide aid each day to thousands of people. In the frontline cities, the Rotarians are real heroes. Despite their very complicated life, they try to continue to serve as Rotarians."
Members inside Ukraine have had supplies to distribute partly because of the global network of Rotary members who have used Rotary disaster response grants to provide them. They have sent generators, medical supplies, emergency equipment, modular housing, and other provisions, as well as providing support for refugees.
The Rotary Foundation has awarded more than 300 disaster response grants, totalling nearly US$15 million, in the last 365 days to help people affected by the war. More than 270 districts have sponsored grants. That's more than half of all districts of Rotary International!
Districts in more than 50 countries have used these grants to help. Beyond the nearby countries in Europe, the districts are in Australia, Bolivia, Canada, Colombia, India, Japan, Korea, New Zealand, South Africa, Taiwan, and the U.S., among others. 
"During this war, we already established approximately 10 new Rotary clubs," Stebljanko says. "Just imagine, we have missile attacks, but we continue to grow our Rotary community."