We’re in the thick of organizing our annual Designers of the Year extravaganza, but like everyone else, our minds are on the terrible situation in Ukraine and the overwhelming feelings of helplessness. Which is why we were so inspired when we saw the Instagram post below from Treana Peake.

Treana won the DOTY for Fashion in 2011 and  2013 (you can read the stories here and here) and even then, she had long been moving her company Obakki into a source for positive change in the world. We’ve been so impressed by her work and her passion that in 2021 we asked her back to judge the Fashion category. And we’ve continued to not only be inspired by her work and her move into homewares but also to her ongoing unfettered commitment to making a positive to change to the inequities in this world.

So when we came across her Instagram post this week on her efforts in Ukraine we felt honour bound to share. Please read below.

Some of you have been asking how to help in Ukraine.

This morning I had a zoom meeting with a local group in one of the major cities under attack – volunteers made up of restaurateurs, hoteliers, teachers, business owners – people risking their lives to reach the most vulnerable. The children, the sick, the elderly, the isolated, the displaced.

I€™ve always believed in going directly to the people & while big NGO€™s need to take admin costs off the top of every donation (to run at the size that they do), there is another more direct way.

Over the past few days, I€™ve learned of underground networks being formed – all to reach those in need. There are individuals hiding in bomb shelters, hospitals, schools, senior centres. People who haven€™t been able to leave the country and others who have chosen to stay to help. Think about that – CHOSEN…to stay…to help. These are the people I want to support.

They have a network, courage, and boots on the ground. What they need are funds. And that€™s where we come in.

Those of you interested in being a part of this – it is grassroots, as direct as it can ever be, it is heavy and real. I will connect you to a larger WhatsApp group where I will share updates when I can.

I have committed to providing a weekly budget of $20,000 CAD – right now this group is trying to reach 4,300 people who need food and medicine inside the city, but that list is growing daily, and the budget will also grow. While they are growing their network of reach on the ground, ours also needs to grow here.

Please share this post with everyone. Our world needs to stay connected in moments like this – humanity and love can (and always will) prevail.

Donations can be made through my foundation – zero administrative fees. 100% will directly reach the people.
Supporting Ukraine to defend their country, protect their freedom, and save their people might just be the most important donation you will make in your lifetime.

Kindness and compassion can win. But it will take all of us this time.

Here is the link to the Obakki Foundation’s donation page. You can donate generally or select “Support Ukraine.”