Group of people posed around tractors and Handler's headquarters

The team at Handlers Equipment will be donating a portion of all the sales to UNHCR in March. ©Handlers Equipment


As the situation in Ukraine unfolds and the refugee crisis grows, many of us are feeling helpless and asking what can I do? Across our country, everyday Canadians are taking action and launching fundraisers to help aid those fleeing Ukraine.

Local businesses have been finding creative and meaningful ways to raise money through a portion of their sales and donating those funds to UNHCR. Here are just a few of the local Canadian businesses that have stepped up to make a difference for refugees of Ukraine:


Having immigrated to Canada from Vietnam, the co-owners of Paris Jewellers, Chau and Trang, along with their mother, felt incredibly moved to start a fundraiser after hearing about the devastation of those fleeing Ukraine.

They recalled their own personal experience of having to move to a foreign country without the language skills, and then being able to reach their version of the Canadian dream with ambition, strength and tenacity. Many of their family members came to Canada as refugees and seeing the struggle of the people fleeing Ukraine really resonated with them. The family shared their personal connection to the cause with us,

“Our family immigrated to Canada from Vietnam when we were young children. Some of our extended family members came as refugees. We can’t imagine being displaced and not having somewhere to call home anymore. We feel so deeply for the women and mothers who’ve been displaced because their partners have to stay back and fight.

Our customers know that one of our core values at Paris Jewellers is community support. With so many of our friends’ and customers’ extended families being displaced and unsure of where their next meal is coming from or where they’ll sleep tonight — we, as a company and individuals, want to do what we can to help Ukrainians.”

Paris Jewellers committed to donating $25,000 plus 10% of their sales until March 6th. At the end of the campaign, the company raised $50,000 for UNHCR Canada. Knowing that many of their friends and customers had extended families in Ukraine that were being displaced motivated them even further.


Woman and man doing youga

IAM YOGA organized a yoga class to raise funds for UNHCR ©IAM YOGA


Sadaf Hosseini, of IAM YOGA, had no idea what to expect when they decided to hold a Yoga for Ukraine class to raise funds for UNHCR Canada. The response was overwhelming, and even had a waitlist. The Yoga for Ukraine class along with a few other community donations raised $1,234 for UNHCR’s Ukraine Emergency Fund.

Sadaf’s business model includes helping the community at large, and she felt that her yoga fundraiser was a way to give back. Growing up in Iran, Sadaf was forced to leave her home under unstable and unsafe circumstances, this naturally made her feel for the people of Ukraine and the suffering they are going through at this time. Sadaf explains,

“I grew up in Iran and was personally affected by the Iran-Iraq War. It’s a terrible thing, to be forced to leave your home, to feel so unstable and unsafe. I know what that’s like, so naturally my heart went out to the people of Ukraine when their home was invaded.

When I bought my business in April of 2021, I was excited to be able to use the platform I’d acquired to make a difference – holding a class to raise funds for Ukrainians was an automatic decision for me. I’ve seen war, I’ve experienced it — now that I can do something to help, I should.”

image of green tractor

A percentage of the sales at Handlers Equipment in March will go to help support refugees fleeing Ukraine © Handlers Equipment


UNHCR Canada was recently chosen by Handlers Equipment for their internal company fundraiser. A portion of all sales from the month of March are being donated to our Ukraine Emergency Fund. As of late March 2022, nearly $7,000 has been raised, and Handlers hopes to inspire other businesses and customers to set up their own fundraisers. The response from clients so far has been incredibly supportive, as well as the staff’s ambitions and energy behind the idea, has created a positive environment for all.

“There is a need for shelter, food, water, medical care and other life-saving assistance near Ukraine right now. We know it’s time for us to step up and help, and we challenge other businesses to do the same, every bit helps.” shared Ivor Venema, owner of Handlers. 

“The UNHCR is a long standing, trusted organization committed to protecting the rights and well-being of people forced to flee their countries. We felt it was an organization we could trust and stand behind with our fundraising efforts.”


Black and white photo of the world from above the clouds

Florian Innerkofler is encouraging his clients to donate to UNHCR through his beautiful photography ©Florian Innerkofler Photography


As a longstanding supporter of UNHCR Canada, Florian Innerkofler recognized the need to push his efforts even further in the wake of the crisis in Ukraine. As a photographer, he had traveled the world, and saw that many people did not have this privilege, nor could some stay in their own homes and countries due to ongoing violence and conflict. Florian shared with us what motivated him,

“So many people cannot do that and even worse so many people are displaced or forced to flee their homes and countries to survive. Once I realized that I wanted to find a way to support and help those people and the UNHCR was the obvious and only choice for me.”

On his website, social media, and his email newsletters, Florian has offered many options for his clients to donate to UNHCR. But in addition to this, he is giving his clients, collectors, and friends the opportunity to purchase any of his artwork with a 25% discount, and to donate that discount. His clients are extremely supportive of this endeavor and have been inspired to donate through their own channels as well.


Woman wearing blue hoodie with the words peace

Peace Collective have created a special sweatshirt to raise money for UNHCR’s work in Ukraine © Peace Collective


Peace Collective has been contributing to a variety of causes since its inception. The mission of the brand is to make you look good while giving back to the causes you believe in. Working with UNHCR since 2020 has been a great experience for the very multi-cultural team at Peace Collective.

“We are a very multi-cultural team at Peace Collective and a lot of our team members are second-generation Canadians whose parents were forced to flee their homes due to violence. We have a first-hand experience at the trauma that family members have gone through,” explained Peace Collective founder, Yanal Dhailieh.

Current fundraising has reached approximately $7,500 towards the relief efforts in Ukraine and its surrounding areas. Yanal notes that he has seen a wonderful and grateful response from their customers for getting involved. This crisis is a priority for his team members he explains,

When the war broke out in Ukraine we felt that we had to do our part. The situation hit close to home as one of our team members has family in Ukraine and we could see how much the war impacted her and the people she loved.


Many of the Canadian businesses noted here are still fundraising. Please visit their websites linked above to learn more. We have been inspired by the action Canadians and local businesses have taken for the people of Ukraine. We are seeing new initiatives and fundraisers launched daily since the situation in Ukraine began.


Interested in starting your own fundraiser with your friends, family, school, workplace, business, or community group? Click here to learn how you can get started and get involved.

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