Our Rotary theme for April is maternal and child health. Sadly, saving mothers and children has become disturbingly important due to recent events in Ukraine. Current estimates put the number of Ukrainians who have left their country due to the war at 4 million people, with half of them being children.  The United Nations estimates that 6.5 million people have been displaced within Ukraine and The International Organization for Migration estimates that more than 12 million people in Ukraine are stranded in areas under attack or cannot leave due to security risks. These numbers total more than 22 million people in a country with a population of over 41 million people. Many Ukrainian cities lie in ruins due to bombing. Another very disturbing fact is that there were 200,000 Ukrainian children scheduled to receive the polio vaccine and those vaccinations were halted due to this war.
What are we doing to ease this suffering? The Rotary Foundation has created an official channel for donors around the world to contribute funds to support the relief efforts underway by Rotary districts. Our district has committed $20,000 of district designated funds to the Disaster Response Fund. If you would like to contribute to this cause, you can do so by going to  https://my.rotary.org/en/disaster-response-fund. All contributions to the Disaster Response Fund need to be received by April 30, 2022 to qualify for use in support of the Ukrainian relief efforts.
Between now and June 30, 2022 Rotary districts that border Ukraine and the Rotary district in Ukraine may apply for grants of up to $50,000 for water, food, shelter, medicine and clothing for the refugees and other victims of this war. During this same period, other impacted Rotary districts that wish to offer support to refugees or other victims can apply for $15,000 grants from the Disaster Response Fund. Rotary clubs in Europe and around the world have stepped up their relief work, some working on the ground to help displaced families.The costs to rebuild peoples’ lives, homes and their cities and towns when this war is over is going to be staggering which highlights why it is so important to continue to support, now, the Annual Fund of the Rotary Foundation. What we give today will be used in the future for this rebuilding and healing. On April 15th, District 5830 is starting a one-to-one matching points campaign for donations made to our Rotary Foundation for PolioPlus or the Annual Fund. Our Rotary Zones 30 and 31 have launched a Finish Strong Campaign which includes contests between our respective districts to see who can raise the most money between now and June 30. Districts that meet or exceed the following criteria will qualify for the contest: 1) a full year minimum increase of 5% in Annual Fund or Polio Plus cash contributions compared to 2020-21; 2) a second-half (Jan.-June) minimum increase of 10% in Annual Fund or Polio Plus contributions; and 3) a full year per capita giving that is higher than our highest in the past 10 years which was $166.80. And lest I forget, our Polio Posse contest continues, with the presidents of the large, medium and small clubs being awarded Paul Harris Fellows for those clubs with the highest per capita giving for PolioPlus.
The world needs our help more than ever so, please, give to our Rotary Foundation according to your ability. What we do does make a difference in the lives of so many that we will never get to know but they will know us by what we do today.