Building a Living Oral History for Rotary

Picture of Dan Smith

Dan Smith

A passion for podcasting to tell the world about the great things Rotary is doing.

Every cry is a song.
Every song is a prayer.
Every prayer must be heard to fill the air.

Hothouse Flowers

Do you remember a few years ago, there was an Oral History project to collect the stories of concentration camp survivors and World War II veterans before they passed? With your help we can create a Living Oral History of Rotary and the Ukrainian People. To create a legacy project that will be archived for all time. People won’t ask “what is Rotary?” anymore – they will know.

Only Rotary can capture what is going on in Ukraine – How?

Rotarians rallied to support Ukrainians around the world. That’s historic. That’s the reason.

Ukrainian District Governor Vitalii Lesko has asked us to help collect the stories of Ukrainian Refugees. That’s the vehicle.

The thousands of districts, clubs and members around the world that supported and continue to support Ukrainians. That’s the audience.

District 5110 and the Voices and Stories Ukraine website and the podcast training. That’s the bridge.

The opportunity?

On March 10 President Elects and Rotary leaders will be meeting in Lviv, Ukraine for PETS. We will be there. With your support we can give them the tools to go back to their clubs and begin collecting stories, poems, songs and short videos from – everywhere.

Rotary is the only organization that can do this.  We are where the people are at, and the people trust us to share their stories. Because Rotarians are the people.

“Regarding the trip to Lviv for PETS – in my opinion, it is worth going there. This will be a large gathering of Rotarians of Ukraine and you will be able to feel our strength in our mood.” Tatiana Ocheret, Ukraine District 2232

The Story Track

Here’s how these stories get told.

  • The President Elects return home and share the contest with their members and neighbors.
  • Ukrainian stories, poems, music and videos are collected through mobile apps.
  • The stories are curated and posted on the Voices and Stories Ukraine, the District 5110 websites with live feeds to websites around the world.
  • The subscribers (that’s you) listen, read and watch, then select the top stories.
  • The author receives a cash prize.
  • The material is cataloged and archived on the Internet Archive that includes
    • the Library of Congress,
    • Harvard Ukrainian Research Institute, and
    • the Hoover Institution, Stanford University.

This is a Legacy Project.

Rotary and our work in Ukraine and around the world will be archived for all time.

How you can help

Support the launch. We need to be in Lviv, Ukraine for PETS, hire an attorney, set-up the team and hire translators so you can hear the stories in English.

Subscribe – As a subscriber you not only support the ongoing project but your subscription covers the cost of translations, prizes and training of professional storytellers.

Most importantly, you vote for the stories. You decide who receives a prize and what goes into the archive. Somewhere out there are very talented people. With your help we will be able to find these people and give them the opportunity to start a carrier with our professional training program.

“We hope that our stories will impress the world. And our common cause will be a step closer to the Victory of Ukraine.” Tatiana Ocheret, Ukraine District 2232

The adventure to Ukraine begins on March 1 and we really want you to come along.

It will be broadcast live (when there is internet) and always available on-demand. Visit for the ever changing schedule and join us on Facebook and YouTube.

You are going to meet some remarkable people and experience what life is like in Ukraine.

Welcome aboard.

One Response

  1. Great work, Dan! This is such an important story to tell. Imagine. With more Rotarians telling and sharing stories, what an impact we can make!

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