News Humanitarian/Medical

“Oxygen for Life” Program to Help Vulnerable with Critical Pandemic Medical Equipment – CUF Supporting Ukraine COVID Relief

The Canada-Ukraine Foundation (CUF) announced on October 1, 2021, a donation to help fight the impacts of COVID-19 in Ukraine, particularly hard hit by the fourth wave of the global pandemic. Together with partners League of Ukrainian Canadians, Dnipro-Oshawa Fund at BCU Foundation, and the Ukrainian National Federation, CUF committed a $30,000 CAD donation to support the “Oxygen for Life” Phase 2 program mounted by Kyiv-based civil society organization Initiative E+.

Transparency International has noted an acute shortage of hospital beds in Ukraine, with many COVID-19 patients not receiving required oxygen support, being discharged with low oxygen-saturation levels, and without provision of oxygen concentrators for self-management, due to shortages of equipment. 

Kyiv-based Initiative E+, which specializes in humanitarian and charitable work across Ukraine, created the “Oxygen for Life” program at the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, aiming to dramatically improve the lives of vulnerable patients recovering from COVID and other respiratory comorbidities. Supported by community volunteers, Initiative E+ operates an oxygen therapy support and exchange program with the goal of addressing critical equipment shortages, and assisting patients recovering from COVID-19. The project is particularly designed to support remote communities and vulnerable populations struggling with limited access to oxygen therapy support.

CUF’s sponsorship will allow Initiative E+ to procure twenty oxygen concentrators, thus boosting its inventory of the life-saving devices by fifty percent.

Direct beneficiaries of this project will include hospitals and rural ambulatory clinics, seniors with difficulty accessing medical care, patients recovering from COVID in remote areas or with respiratory comorbidities, and long-term care residents.

“The monumental effort and delivery of oxygen and life-saving equipment from the Canada-Ukraine Foundation is desperately required,” stated Dr. John M. Quinn V, MD, MPh, PhD, expert in health diplomacy and health security, and Alumnus Scholar at the George C. Marshall European Center for Security Studies. “The unfortunate vaccine hesitancy and scattered vaccine uptake against COVID-19 evidenced with the well-below-target penetrance in almost all regions make the Delta/Delta+ variants major threats to health and growing risk to a never-ending pandemic crisis in Ukraine. The requirement for life-saving oxygen therapy throughout ICUs, hospitals and clinics can be filled with the stopgap of oxygen concentrator support.”

CUF’s goal is to support, fund and manage humanitarian, economic development, governance, and rule of law projects that focus on Ukraine. Its humanitarian missions support a reinforcement of Ukraine’s medical reform and sustainable medical development. CUF’s medical initiatives favour local projects that provide immediate assistance, benefit the most vulnerable, and will have a lasting impact. Accordingly, all equipment obtained through CUF’s sponsorship will be donated to Ukrainian medical facilities in need of oxygen therapy augmentation, post-pandemic.

“This is a prime example of how the robust Canada-Ukraine relationship, and the strong people-to-people networks between our countries can make a real difference,” said Orest Sklierenko, President and CEO of the Canada-Ukraine Foundation. “We’re proud we can identify worthwhile, lifesaving projects, complete a thorough due diligence efficiently, and deploy resources in time to make a material impact on real people’s lives. This project fits squarely in CUF’s mission and vision as demonstrated for more than 25 years.”

CUF will continue to raise funds to cover the operational expenses of the “Oxygen for Life” project, such as fuel for equipment delivery, oxygen filter replacements, and accountability monitoring. Organizations, corporations and individuals are welcome to support CUF in this effort with financial or relevant material donations. Contributions may be made online at CUF’s donation page for Medical Missions or by contacting the Canada-Ukraine Foundation.


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News Uncategorized

CUF Summer Students 2021 and Executive Coordinator

The Canada-Ukraine Foundation welcomes the 2021 summer students through the Canada Summer Jobs (CSJ) program. This program is designed by the Government of Canada to provide flexible and holistic services to help all young Canadians develop their skills and gain paid work experience to successfully transition into the labour market.

Orest Sklierenko, CUF President & CEO said: “On behalf of the Executive Committee and the entire Board of Directors of the Canada-Ukraine Foundation, I am grateful to the Canadian government for funding three employees over this summer to help us move our programs forward and achieve our strategic objectives. We are looking forward to working with Solomiya, Paul and Maksym in providing them with an enriching learning experience and marketable skills for their future.”

Meet our summer students:

Solomiya Sharun is a Masters’ student in Development Studies at York University. Solomiya has a strong ability to analyse issues from a variety of perspectives and understands social issues. She has worked at the Canada Ukraine Trade and Investment Support Project (CUTIS). Inspired by CUTIS’ gender strategies aimed towards women’s inclusiveness in trade and the prevalence of traditional gender business stereotypes in Ukraine, her research focus intends to investigate women’s underrepresentation in Ukraine’s agricultural sector. Solomiya previously interned with CUF on a volunteer basis and is excited to be working with CUF again as our Marketing Coordinator.

Paul Kuzyshyn is an active member of the Ukrainian community in Ottawa and Montreal. He holds a Bachelors’ degree of Social Sciences in International Development & Globalization from the University of Ottawa. Paul worked for a number of years at BCU Financial in Ottawa, where he was engaged with the Ukrainian community on a daily basis. He is also a member of the Ottawa Ukrainian Student Club where he helped organize social events and fundraisers. Paul is joining our team as an Administrative Assistant – Fundraising/Grant preparation.  

Maksym Woychyshyn is an honours high school graduate looking forward to starting at the University of Toronto in September of this year. His passion is centered around Robotics so he will be studying computer science, statistics and mathematics in university. He is active in the Ukrainian community, volunteering his time helping seniors at Ivan Franko Homes with various tasks including setting up streaming services. Maksym will also be working as an Administrative Assistant concentrating on Archive and Data management.

The Canada-Ukraine Foundation (CUF) is excited to welcome our newest team member: Julia Stech!

Julia has joined us as our Executive Coordinator and will be reporting to our President/CEO Orest Sklierenko and COO Oksana Kuzyshyn. Julia will also be responsive to our Board and Committee chairs, assisting them with their programming requirements.

Julia’s primary focus will be developing, launching and executing CUF’s capacity building fundraising campaign and optimizing communications with major donors, partner organizations and other stakeholders. Over this summer she will also assist in supervising our three Canada Summer Jobs employees, making sure that they are engaged and provided with interesting and useful tasks beneficial to their skills development.

Julia comes to us from the Metropolitan Andrey Sheptytsky Institute Foundation (Executive Administrator) and has working experience from the Petro Jacyk Education Foundation (Administrator) and the Ukrainian Canadian Research & Documentation Centre (Marketing Specialist). Prior to that she was the Project Manager – fundraising at the Ukrainian Catholic University, development department. Julia earned her Master’s degree in journalism from the Institute of Ecumenical Studies at the Ukrainian Catholic University, her Bachelor’s degree in journalism from Ivan Franko National University of Lviv as well as holds a certificate in conflict management and a diploma in marketing.

Julia is a member of the Board of Directors at Svitlychka, Ukrainian Cooperative Nursery School of Toronto and a member of Plast – Ukraine’s national scouting movement.

We are excited to see her apply her extensive fundraising, marketing and management experience and first-rate education to help us grow our Foundation and achieve our Strategic goals.

Uncategorized News

Presidential Remarks

Adapted from President’s remarks at the Annual General Meeting of the Canada-Ukraine Foundation held Saturday, June 5, 2021

Dear friends and supporters of the Canada-Ukraine Foundation.

One year into my term and 15 months into the COVID-19 pandemic, it would be natural to look back and reflect on what has been accomplished over the past year. While it is important to do that in order to track and measure how our internal work and external partnerships and programming are progressing towards achieving our long-term strategic goals, we do that on a regular basis at Executive Committee and Board meetings. So today, here at the AGM I would prefer to look forward.

Thank you

But before we look forward, I’d like to say Thank You! Thank you to:

• All the friends, supporters, and donors without whom CUF would not be able to deliver the programs and projects it has been involved in over more than 25 years.

• CUF’s member organizations for your collaboration, cooperation and support. The League of Ukrainian Canadians, Help us Help, UNF, Ukrainian Self-Reliance League, Plast, the Brotherhood of Ukrainian Catholics and the Council of Ukrainian Credit Unions.

• Dzherelo for their partnership and continued great work, and to all our other partner fund holders, whether it be the continued work of the Liubov project, the Kovaluk scholarships, the LNAU Jaroslav Zajshlyj scholarships, the donors from the Cosbild group and our most recent partners, the Canadian Friends of Hockey in Ukraine.

• Our partners at UCC, its national leadership and its provincial affiliates, as well as the Ukrainian World Congress and its member organizations

• CUF Board member and the external committee members: each and every one of you is aligned behind CUF’s mission and vision and I Thank You for your time and commitment.

• Lesya, who has continued to work tirelessly with Brad and the Finance/Audit committee to keep the books in check and our finances in order

• Ambassador Derek Fraser for your years of service to our country and to CUF. Ambassador Fraser stepped down from the Board of CUF earlier this year.


On that note, I’d also like to make a few Welcomes!

• Ambassador Roman Waschuk joined the CUF board earlier this year and already brought his calm and thoughtful approach to several discussions on a range of topics

• I’d also like to introduce Julia Stech, our Executive Coordinator. Welcome Julia! We look forward to the energy and skillset you bring to our organization. One of Julia’s first tasks will be overseeing CUF’s summer students, whom we also welcome at this time!

Looking forward

As we add new board members and begin to build out the CUF office, let’s look forward as we continue to write the second 25 year chapter in CUF’s story together.
Key internal areas of focus from the strategic plan are:

1.) Fundraising (for capacity building)
2.) Promoting the CUF brand to all stakeholders
3.) Optimizing the CUF organizational chart
4.) Establish a paid support staff
5.) Expand presence on the ground in Ukraine

Internally, we have made progress in bringing technology to our meetings and operations, in financial reporting and oversight and we are hiring our first staff member. All these advances will help create a solid foundation for addressing CUF’s strategic priorities.

Welcoming Julia is just the beginning of the build-out of the CUF office. As she onboards with the leadership of Oksana and others on our board and executive, Julia will bring her fundraising and communications skillsets and help progress the work on a couple of immediate needs – capacity building and communications.


Key external areas of focus from the 2020 strategic plan are:

1.) Developing smart partnerships – with key organizations inside and outside our community, inside and outside government;
2.) Developing smart processes – to assess impact and sustainability of future projects and measure projects underway;
3.) Shift the geographic focus to ensure Eastern Ukraine is included in the scope of work.
I’m pleased to see progress from all our committees has continued through the pandemic. The external committee chairs will update the AGM and our external stakeholders in separate presentations/communications.

CUF President Advisory Councils

Finally, I’d like to announce that we are forming President’s Advisory Councils in the areas of Healthcare, Education, Civil Society and Youth. The members of councils will be experts in their respective fields and serve as advisors to the CUF President and members of our board who are working on the relevant committee.

Stay tuned to our social media channels and website for more updates in all the above areas in the coming weeks, months and years.

Thank You once again for your support and dedication – together, we will continue the culture of excellence and take CUF to the next level.

Orest Sklierenko
President & CEO
Canada-Ukraine Foundation

News Holodomor National Awareness Tour

A new Module for the Holodomor National Awareness Tour

“A Genocide begins with the killing of one man; not for what he has done, but because of who he is.” – Koffi Annan, U.N Secretary-General 2001

The COVID-19 pandemic has changed not only how people interact with each other, but also how Holodomor awareness is brought to the public.  Although the HMC’s travels across Canada are currently on hold, we continue to spread awareness by strengthening our social media presence on Twitter and Facebook,  and turning to online virtual learning for students.

As classrooms around the globe are going virtual so have we, by creating a pre-recorded online high school module, “Introduction to the Holodomor:  A Virtual Lesson for Schools”.

This lesson is a primer on the concept of genocide, the history of the Holodomor, and offers a call-to-action for students to fight against hate and prejudice and to advocate for social justice in their communities.  Guided by a narrator, students explore primary and secondary sources, do a short quiz, and write a reflection piece exploring the steps they can take towards being active citizens, which their teacher receives.  We are reaching out to high school principals and teachers about this lesson, and have over 129 schools now signed up for the lesson.

We continue to have a strong presence on Facebook ( with over 2,450 followers averaging a 1.12% engagement rate, well above the average for non-profit organizations.  On Twitter (@HolodomorTour) we have over 800 followers, with a rate of 1.8%, and an “impressions” rate of 1.8 million views.  We develop organized posts about the Holodomor, other genocides and international human rights abuses.  Being inclusive of other atrocities not only widens the reach of the Holodomor genocide, but also lends support to others who have also suffered, and are currently experiencing, crimes against humanity.

2021 continues to be a year that has many global events taking the news forefront and we are extremely pleased with our direct school based and social media Holodomor awareness campaigns.  The Canada-Ukraine Foundation and the Holodomor National Awareness Tour gratefully acknowledges the financial support of the Ontario Trillium Foundation as well as that of the Federal Government and our many private sponsors, so that we can continue to carry this project further into the future. 

About the Ontario Trillium Foundation

The Ontario Trillium Foundation (OTF) is an agency of the Government of Ontario, and one of Canada’s largest granting foundations. With a budget of over $136 million, OTF awards grants to some 1,000 projects every year to build healthy and vibrant Ontario communities.

Humanitarian/Medical News

New Branches for Dzherelo in Lviv

Dzherelo Children’s Rehab Centre in Lviv is growing new branches. No longer will all programs be provided from the one centre on Chervonoyi Kalyny Avenue. Dzherelo is expanding and developing its programming for children with special needs by getting ready to establish a sixth satellite branch!

For over 25 years, Dzherelo Children’s Rehabilitation Centre has been operating as an independent facility in Lviv, focusing on the consultation, rehabilitation treatment, education and counselling of both children with special needs and their families. For too long, many of these children had been hidden from mainstream society, locked up in homes and prevented from attending school. So, while Ukraine’s education system is slowly adapting to inclusive education close to special needs students’ homes, Dzherelo is also making strides in this direction. The new Dzherelo satellite branches are located in residential neighbourhoods outside the Lviv city centre, offering services closer to the homes where the children live. These new satellite projects are necessary to reduce the stressful, costly and lengthy travel time and ultimately improve families’ quality of life.

The Dzherelo team is constantly working on updating and improving their programs. Since 2018, they have opened five satellite branches of Dzherelo in different areas of Lviv city. The satellites and expansion of programs are only possible with the City Council’s financial help, other government levels, and community fundraising. Together, with each partner’s contribution, it becomes possible to renovate, furnish, and install the facilities’ special equipment. Only then can the staff, trained at Dzherelo, begin taking in and integrating the children planning to attend.

With five branch satellites operating, the next challenge is expanding the Dzherelo Centre’s programs by opening branch No.6 in Vynnyky (a suburb of Lviv).  The facility will have a total area of nearly 300 square meters and offer daycare programs for ten younger children plus ten youths with special needs living nearby. The availability of services close to home is paramount for the children and their families health and welfare.

Lviv City Council had made a specific funding decision to allocate an appropriate building for use by Dzherelo. The local city administration provided such a building, and in due course, other government levels were also committed to funding the costs involved in building improvements and specific adaptations.  

Dzherelo satellite branch No.6 now requires about $23,000 (500 thousand hryvnias) to furnish the premises with specially adapted furniture, a projector, a computer, some mobile and ceiling lifts. 

To ensure this funding and the completion of this expansion project, Canadian donors have volunteered to supply the required portion of the costs, as indicated by the Lviv Regional (Oblast) Council’s budget proposal.  Druzi Dzherela, through the Canada-Ukraine Foundation (CUF), is committed to providing the promised community contribution funds.

You can donate to this worthwhile project through Druzi Dzherela in Toronto with the Canada-Ukraine Foundation’s help. Your generosity will ensure the successful and timely completion of Dzherelo satellite branch No.6 for the benefit of Lviv’s special children!

For more information about Dzherelo, please view their website at

To donate, contact the Canada-Ukraine Foundation at 


The Foundation Congratulates Roman Yereniuk

The Canada-Ukraine Foundation is proud to congratulate Roman Yereniuk on being recognized as an Honour 150 recipient in honour of the 150th anniversary of the Province of Manitoba.

Honour 150 recognizes 150 people from across the Province who give back to the community and enrich the places in which we live, work, play, and come together in unity. Nominated by members of their own communities in 2020, these 150 individuals represent the diversity of the province.

CUF Past President Victor Hetmanczuk said: “Roman’s work on the Liubov-Love Fund dovetails wonderfully with the humanitarian mission of the Canada-Ukraine Foundation. We are profoundly grateful for his efforts in organising the volunteers of the Fund for these many years and applaud this recognition as he sets an example for all Canadians to emulate.”

Read Roman’s full writeup here.



The Canada-Ukraine Foundation (“CUF”) went through a changing of “the Diplomatic Guard” at its recent Board of Directors meeting on January 30th, 2021.

Canada’s former Ambassador to Ukraine Derek Fraser – one of CUF’s longest serving Board members – where he served for over 13 ½  years – retired from active service, and was replaced by Roman Waschuk, Canada’s most recent former Ambassador.

The Board of CUF heartily thanked Ambassador Fraser for his service to Canada and to CUF, and warmly welcomed Ambassador Waschuk to the Board.

Derek Fraser served as Canada’s Ambassador to Ukraine from 1998 to 2001, during the latter part of the Kuchma Presidency and Victor Yuschenko’s Prime Ministership. He also served as Canada’s Ambassador to Greece and Budapest during the years of the Fall of the Soviet Union, and had previously served in Saigon, Bonn, Moscow, and Brussels – all major postings during critical times. He returned to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs after his Kyiv posting, and was considered as one of the Deans of the Diplomatic Corps. He retired from the service to move to Victoria, B.C., became Adjunct Professor at the Centre for Global Studies at the University of Victoria, and shortly thereafter in 2007 joined the CUF Board.

In thanking Derek for his years of service to CUF, the Chair of the Board, Bohdan Onyschuk, said: “The Ambassador gave us great advice for almost 14 years on civil society, politics, who was who in Ukraine, and what directions we should go. But Derek also went well beyond that expected of a Board member, when in 2012 he agreed to take on the role of Head of Mission and Chief Observer of the Long-Term Observer (LTO) Mission that CUF fielded for the 2012 Parliamentary Elections -the most critical Ukraine election during President Yanukovych’s term in office as President from 2010 to 2014. CUF fielded the first LTO to a Ukrainian election by any NGO (other than that of the OSCE) from July 5, 2012 to the October 28 elections. His reports on the gerrymandering of electoral boundaries, vote buying, pressure on journalists and attack on the TVI news channel and its owner, were all important findings that lead to only one conclusion on that election.”

Derek Fraser will continue to serve on the CUF/International Foundation Fundraising Committee for the new National Holodomor Museum being built in Kyiv, for which CUF is the North American and European fundraising partner of the International Foundation for the Museum in Kyiv.

The CUF Board then turned to welcoming former Ambassador Roman Waschuk to its Board.

Ambassador Waschuk is very well known for his achievements in diplomatic circles, particularly for his double tour of duty during trying times as Canada’s Ambassador to Ukraine from 2014 to 2019,  and the Russian invasion of Crimea and the Donbass.

He previously served as Ambassador to Serbia, with concurrent accreditation to Macedonia and Montenegro in the Balkans. Before that he had served as second secretary for politics in Moscow, as minister-counsellor in Berlin, and senior advisor in Kyiv in counsellor positions going back to 1994-98. In Ottawa, between postings, he held positions of deputy director of the EU Division, deputy director of the Policy Planning Division, director of the Global Partnership for Biological and Chemical Weapons Non-proliferation, and director of the Stabilization and Reconstruction Program Division.

Derek Fraser commented on Roman Waschuk’s achievements, saying: “Roman was identified as one of the brightest people dealing with Eastern Europe after only one month of service as a very young man in the Canadian embassy in Moscow in the 1980’s.” As Director of Relations in Eastern Europe and in subsequent postings Derek followed Roman Waschuk’s career closely. He opined that he was “very confident Roman will be able to provide a lot of diplomatic background relating to CUF”.

Roman Waschuk will be a terrific replacement to Derek Fraser and will serve alongside CUF’s other Canadian Ambassador to Ukraine, Andrew Robinson, who served in Kyiv during the Orange Revolution. Ambassador Waschuk’s knowledge of the current situation on the ground in Ukraine, in economics, politics, civil society and rule of law will be invaluable to CUF in its strategic planning and delivery of projects in Ukraine for its development as a strong democratic post-Soviet nation. He will also join the CUF/International Foundation Fundraising Committee for the new National Holodomor Museum project in Kyiv.

The CEO of CUF, Orest Sklierenko, said: “Ambassador Fraser – we are truly grateful for your years of service to the people of Canada, the people of Ukraine and as a board member of the Canada-Ukraine Foundation. Your advice has helped CUF deliver on its mandate of providing assistance projects to Ukraine for over 13.5 years. Ambassador Waschuk, we are equally grateful to you for your service and we look forward to learning from your experiences, insights, and knowledge. Today’s transition between the former ambassadors on CUF’s Board of Directors demonstrates the importance of institutional memory and thoughtful succession planning. The continued commitment from both Ambassador Waschuk and Ambassador Robinson underlines the importance of the role CUF will continue to play in providing assistance to Ukraine in the areas of Healthcare, Education and Civil Society for many years to come.”


A Message from the President and CEO of CUF

Dear Friends and Supporters of the Canada Ukraine Foundation,

As we approach the holiday season, it is my pleasure to give a brief update from the Canada Ukraine Foundation. It is my hope this update will remind you of the important role CUF plays in the Ukrainian Canadian community and overall supporting much needed projects and programs in Ukraine, give you a glimpse into how CUF is evolving, and motivate you to consider supporting CUF’s continued work by making a donation today.

New faces on the CUF Board and Leadership Team

A year ago, CUF’s board evolved and brought in several new faces, and I am delighted have assumed the role of President partway through this year, at the AGM in June.

I have had the pleasure to work with many of you in the past. Some of our paths may have crossed as far back as my time with the Ukrainian Students’ Club at U of T more than 20 years ago now, or in various performing and leadership roles at the Ukrainian Bandurist Chorus of North America for over 3 decades. More recently, perhaps we collaborated during my time leading the committee in support of Ukrainian Schools at UCC Toronto and helping coordinate this key stakeholder group for UCC National over the past 5 years. I have also had the privilege of serving on the Board of Directors of the Shevchenko Foundation over the past 5 years, contributing to the governance and nominating committee’s accomplishments, as well as supporting important projects including: MITACS, The Tryzub Awards, and the REACH program.

I am excited about my new role with the Canada Ukraine Foundation (CUF) and am honoured to help lead the organization over the next several years as President. One of my early tasks in this role is to lead the creation of a new strategic plan to ensure CUF programs and projects are relevant in today’s world, aligned to the needs of their recipients, and properly and appropriately coordinated as we play a lead role in the overall diaspora efforts in helping Ukraine.

As I assume this role, it is my hope to bring my experiences from my professional career and my community involvement to build on the foundation of excellence that exists in the foundation. Although there are new faces joining the board and assuming some of the leadership roles, we are blessed to have the support of not one, but three(!) former presidents of CUF on the board… a laudable example of dedication and care, as well as respect for the importance of institutional memory and succession planning. We are grateful to those who have come before us and those continue to be involved for helping make CUF what it is today. What this means it the executive will be steering the ship with the help of a strong and diverse board. I will also endeavour to support and enable the programming committees as they build, launch, and execute the identified priority programs to the best of my ability. Today’s CUF leadership is merely helping hand the Foundation over from those who made it what it is today, to the generations who follow us and will make it even better than our wildest dreams.

The Pandemic

As you know, in March, everything ground to a halt. The board called a snap meeting and decided to postpone all CUF-related travel until at least labour day. That was subsequently extended to end 2020 and beyond.

We need to recognize that many among us experienced a significant increase in workload in both professional and home schedules despite being home-bound through much of the ongoing pandemic. However, we have found a way to get it done… in many instances in with the support of our partners, parents, children, and grandchildren. And it is those youngest members of our community who have had to be the most resilient through this, those who unfortunately will be paying for this the longest, and at the end of the day, the reason we do what we do here at the Foundation. This is not “our foundation”. We are merely biding our time here as caretakers of this foundation for the future generations who will make it greater than any of us would have ever imagined.

Times of crises bring out the best in people and the worst in people. At times of crises we see some leaders shine while others crumble or fade into obscurity. We see evil thrive while good must galvanize to resist it. The need for the good work accomplished by our projects is greater than ever, and the external environment in which we must operate is more complex than ever. Although slowing and delaying some CUF programs and projects, the pandemic did present opportunities for launching and partnering on new projects which emerged from needs stemming from the pandemic. These projects are highlighted in other stories/posts you can find here: and on our social media channels.

CUF Evolution

The pandemic also offered an opportunity to evolve CUF, do some housekeeping, and take advantage of being homebound. We focused on refreshing the strategic plan and I’d like to commend the board for their commitment over an extensive process, four planning sessions, three working sessions, 8 guest speakers and over 400 total man-hours spent between early July and October. A summary of the outputs of this process, CUF’s strategic direction over the next 3-5 years, will be included in a separate post/story. In short, internally we will focus on capacity building and the requisite fundraising, improving communications and board engagement & succession planning. We have also identified external opportunities to expand collaboration, streamline the project funding process and leverage technological support across all our projects and programs. Finally, we have also started work on evolving our technological capabilities, our communications with stakeholders, and our financial systems and processes, so in short, lots of work underway… stay tuned!

As a part of our evolution, it is our intention to have more regular communications with our ever-growing pool of stakeholders. As such, you will see a CUF newsletter coming several times a year, with regular social media posts profiling key projects and programs, partner organizations and board members, as well as key events, commemorations, anniversaries, and milestones.

We thank you for your support over 25 years and look forward to your continued support over the next 25. Please visit to make a donation today.

On behalf of the leadership team of the Canada Ukraine Foundation, please accept our most sincere wishes for a safe, happy, and healthy holiday season, and a blessed, prosperous, and joyous 2021.

Христос Рождається!

Merry Christmas!

Orest Sklierenko

Humanitarian/Medical News

Health Advisory Committee Update

The Canada-Ukraine Foundation’s (CUF) Health Advisory Team (HAT) aims to be the partner of choice for Ukrainian healthcare institutions, NGOs, and various levels of government health ministries to build capability and capacity within Ukrainian healthcare systems and communities. Through CUF supported and sponsored programs and projects, we promote health by enabling organizations, healthcare practitioners and healthcare promotion advocates to improve the healthcare in the communities that they serve.

The Health Advisory Team was responsible for supporting and implementing a number of critical health initiatives in 2019-2020. Through its collaborations, partnerships and initiatives it was able to bring such programs as the Sunnybrook Ukraine Surgical Educational initiative formalized in September 2019, to hospitals in Lviv, Ukraine.

This three-year initiative partners the Sunnybrook Health Science Centre (through the support of the Sunnybrook Foundation and its donors, in particular, the Temerty Foundation and Ihnatowycz Foundations), Canada-Ukraine Foundation, and three hospitals in Lviv to provide education and training to medical specialists in Ukraine. Dr. Oleh Antonyshyn leads a team of surgeons, anesthesiologists and nurses in providing education and training to medical specialists in Ukraine in the fields of microsurgery, craniofacial reconstruction and upper extremity reconstruction.

The program is delivered through advisory missions, live surgery demonstrations, and focused symposia, workshops and educational observerships. The first mission was conducted in October 2019 with a team of six specialists The Canadian team together, with their Ukrainian colleagues completed a total of 25 surgical procedures on patients ranging from 9 to 65 years of age. As part of the program, 138 participants, from various disciplines and from all parts of Ukraine participated in a nationwide symposium covering topics in craniofacial surgery and microsurgery organized by the Canadian team. In addition to the training provided, 460kg of medical equipment and supplies valued at $250,000 CAD was left at the hospitals for their use.

The novel coronavirus pandemic disrupted plans to launch the second mission but work is on-going to develop the initiative and implement new programs.

The pandemic restrictions brought to light other needs that CUF was able to address and support. At the start of the quarantine almost 50,000 children were sent home from orphanages “Internaty” to their biological families who were ill-equipped to welcome their children home. CUF in cooperation with Help Us Help and supported by Ukrainian Canadian Congress and MEEST and in partnership with the Ombudsman for Children with the President of Ukraine provided food and hygiene kits to 250 families in the Zhytomyr Oblast whose children were sent home due to the pandemic.

The ultimate goal of the project was to help facilitate deinstitutionalization reforms in the country that will ensure every child grows up with their family or in a similar family-like setting.

Around the globe, the pandemic is first and foremost on everyone’s mind, but the ongoing war with Russia in Eastern Ukraine isn’t far from our thoughts. The war has left thousands of Ukrainian Veterans with physical and mental trauma that the country’s health system is trying to treat. Through a generous donation by the Dnipro Cultural Centre Oshawa Fund, CUF was able to support the psychological treatment of 50 female veterans and soldiers at The Center of Psychological Counseling & Traumatherapy “Open Doors”. At the start of the project, the mental health specialists at The Open Doors Center in Kyiv provided in-person treatment to the patients, but with the pandemic, they were able to adapt to the restrictions and provide on-line services as well as treatment in the military hospital for those hospitalized. 

Holodomor National Awareness Tour News

Holodomor National Awareness Tour Update

The 2020 COVID-19 pandemic has brought many changes to how organizations operate, and the Holodomor National Awareness Tour has seen its share of the change.  Being a hands-on entity where visiting schools and hosting community events is a vital component of our work, we had to adapt to a larger on-line presence during these unprecedented times while the Holodomor Mobile Classroom awaits the clearance to be on the road once again.

Even though our monthly social media themed posts have a strong following, we needed to create something larger.  One question often heard from students, teachers and the public is – “Why haven’t we heard about the Holodomor?”  This is where our global campaign to have the word “Holodomor” added to dictionaries started.  We created the “DeepTruth” ( campaign which used DeepFake technology to reveal the truth of former Soviet Leader Joseph’s Stalin role in the Holodomor, the goal being to have the word “Holodomor” added to English language dictionaries.  We launched a petition on ( to have the word added into major-English language dictionaries and now have over 36,000 signatures from over 120 countries and counting.  We have reached out to several major English language dictionaries requesting them to add “Holodomor” into their dictionaries.


Not being able to visit schools to engage students with our interactive lessons on board the Holodomor Mobile Classroom, we restructured our lessons so that they can be accessible to students on-line and still give students an introduction to the Holodomor.  We are finalizing one of our lessons and hope to have it available to students and teachers in the new year.  This element of on-line learning has added a further outreach to Holodomor awareness and education.

We look forward to once again being able to travel across Canada engaging students, teachers and Canadians about the Holodomor.  From everyone at the Holodomor National Awareness Tour we wish you all the best for the holidays, a Merry Christmas and a healthy 2021.