The Rotary Club of Irkutsk was the second rotary club to be chartered in the former Soviet Union. It just turned five years old and has 25 members. It is involved in a number of projects in and around Irkutsk.
The club is involved in a number of community projects. Last year the club coordinated and supervised the distribution of 1.8 million dollars worth of medical supplies donated by the Rotary Foundation of Rotary International. Their ongoing project is the support of a local orphanage for speech and hearing impaired children. Their most recent donation was $5,000 dollars worth of hearing aids. It also organizes local clean up projects and appears frequently in the local media.
The club is very active in youth activities. It sponsers a Rotaract and an Interact Club that were formed in 1995. Both clubs are organized like Rotary Clubs. Rotaract is for people aged 18-30, and Interact is for high school students. Both of these clubs are very interested in cultural exchanges with other Rotaract Clubs.
Two outgoing ambassadorial scholars and two youth exchange students (one outgoing, and one currently in California) are being sponsored by the club. The club has also hosted an American Group Study Exchange team and sponsored one in return. Pictured is Olga Vasilieva, one of the ambassadorial scholars. She is a Junior at the Siberian-American College of Business Management at Irkutsk State University and will be spending six months at a University in Texas. Olga was also my very dilligent and patient tutor of Russian.
I was often humbled by the tremendous zeal and amount of work put in by the members of the club. Life is still hard and uncertain in Russia, yet the members devote large amounts of their time and resources to club activities. I soon saw why. Many things are in turmoil in Russia, and Rotary and its philosophy represents one part of the new society they are striving to create.
I would be happy to relay any questions or ideas for projects or student and rotaract exchanges to the Rotary Club of Irkutsk. You can E-mail me at email@example.com or fax: [U.S.A.] (907) 562-1831.Irkutsk City Homepage