Article: Ukraine young people serve their communities through Rotaract

Two decades after the first Rotary club was chartered in Ukraine, the country's youth have embraced Rotary in a big way.

Ukraine now has 24 Rotaract clubs — Rotary’s service clubs for people ages 18 to 30 — many of them focusing on the challenges facing the country today. In Kyiv, Rotaractors in the capital city’s four clubs collaborate often on service projects, including a campaign to draw attention to the plight of stray animals.

Members of the Rotaract Club of Kyiv Multinational take time to honor their elders. For nearly three years, they’ve been visiting a nursing home in Peremoha, about 40 miles away.

“These are the people who did their best for future generations, for us, to live in a free country,” says club treasurer and past president Taras Mytkalyk. “We wanted to fill their lives with a feeling of being needed.”

The Rotaract Club of Kyiv-Centre promotes health and wellness through an HIV awareness campaign, and has worked with Rotaract clubs in Russia, Belarus, Germany, and Romania to raise over US$13,000 to equip a medical center in a rural village in Ukraine.

Rotaract clubs are either community or university based and sponsored by a local Rotary club. World Rotaract Week, 11-17 March, commemorates the 1968 chartering of the first club, in North Carolina, USA.

During the week, Rotaract clubs are asked to partner with their sponsor Rotary clubs on a service project and to encourage a nearby Rotary club to sponsor a new Rotaract club in the area. Also, members of the Rotaract and sponsor clubs are encouraged to attend each other's meetings.