International trade

Houston businesses urged to support relief efforts in Ukraine


Houston-area businesses and nonprofits are stepping up to help Ukrainians affected by the Russian invasion of their country. Now in its third month, the conflict has killed thousands of Ukrainian citizens and displaced millions more. A virtual Partnership event on May 2 outlined how several local organizations are providing desperately needed equipment, goods and funds, as well as what others can do to join the effort. one-day massacre, as Ukrainian civilians from Kharkiv to Mariupol have fallen victim to this conflict,” Partnership President and CEO Bob Harvey said at the opening of the event. “More than 5 million refugees have fled Ukraine since February and another 6.5 million are internally displaced. Millions more, including the elderly, young children, entire families, remain vulnerable in an active war zone. of Medicine International Pediatric AIDS Initiative at Texas Children’s Hospital; Michael Bleyzer, founder of private equity investment firm SigmaBleyzer, and representatives of his company’s philanthropic arm, the Daar Foundation. Tarasiuk began by outlining the current situation on the ground in Ukraine and the country’s significant military and humanitarian needs. While millions of Ukrainians have left the country – mostly elderly people, women and children – Tarasiuk said around 4.5 million young people, more than half of the country’s child population, are currently displaced inside and outside Ukraine. “The damage to both infrastructure and the population is enormous,” he said, adding that Ukraine needed more weapons to push back the Russians and more international pressure on the Russian government under form of increased sanctions and removal of companies from the country. Addressing the Partnership’s business audience, Tarasiuk urged companies to consider investing in Ukraine once the conflict is over to help the nation rebuild. “But right now, we need your support to help win this war.” Bleyzer, whose nonprofit Daar Foundation has been active in Ukraine for more than 20 years, spoke about the organization’s shift to humanitarian work amid the crises. Daar has partnered with a number of organizations here in Houston and across the United States to raise relief funds and organize shipments of everything from protective gear to medicine and medical supplies. So far, the group has raised over $3 million and shipped dozens of pallets of products to the region. Bleyzer said Daar’s advantage is that the group has long had staff on the ground who know the landscape and the needs. . The organization works with other groups such as the nonprofit organization Medical Bridges, which packages excess medical supplies from Texas Medical Center for underfunded communities, to secure, package and ship the resources to Ukraine. Daar also relies on volunteers to help with the process. Other Daar partners include Project CURE, Ukraine Needs Wheels, Texas Law Enforcement for Ukraine, and Blessings International, to name a few. Mizwa of Texas Children’s Hospital said the institution leverages its established healthcare presence alongside institutions in Romania and Poland to provide treatment and assistance to Ukrainian refugees. “What we see is a very serious and very necessary situation,” he said. Here in Houston, TX, Children’s recently completed a community and employee donation drive, including personal hygiene and dental products that have now been shipped to the area. “Needs are fluid and ever-changing, so we try to be fluid in responding to those evolving needs in a focused and strategic way,” Mizwa said. Harvey called on local businesses and individuals to engage in relief efforts in any way. they can, whether by volunteering to sort and pack supplies for Ukraine or by donating money. Learn more here. “Russia’s invasion of Ukraine has created a far-reaching geopolitical quagmire, with implications for global energy, agriculture, finance and other sectors,” Harvey said. “But the commercial cost of Russia’s aggression pales in comparison to the humanitarian cost – the huge loss of life, the growing refugee crisis and the real danger that millions of Ukrainians continue to face as this war is raging.”

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