Pale Fire Capital Group calls for support for Ukraine. The company is donating around 22 million CZK for immediate humanitarian aid. At the same time, it has prepared 250 beds for refugees.
The Russian invasion of Ukraine and its far-reaching humanitarian consequences have prompted the Czech investment group Pale Fire Capital to act urgently. The group sent $1,000,000 in immediate humanitarian aid and support to Ukraine this week, in addition to preparing 250 beds for Ukrainian refugees. The aid will be coordinated by the non-profit organizations People in Need and the Organization for Refugee Assistance (ORA). At the same time, the group is appealing to the government to quickly create decent conditions for helping refugees and to Czech citizens and other businesses to join the aid effort.
“In the current situation, it is necessary to act immediately and offer the most effective humanitarian aid to Ukrainian citizens. It can be assumed that millions of people escaping the war will be on the move. That is why we have agreed with our partners to immediately release one million dollars to help Ukraine, and this aid will be distributed by People in Need with an office located directly in Ukraine,” said Jan Barta, Partner at Pale Fire Capital, adding: “At the same time, we have prepared 250 beds for those who will arrive in the Czech Republic in the buildings we have rented, where we want to provide refugees with a safe initial asylum, peace and decent conditions for probably the most difficult period of their lives – none of us would want to run away from our own country with our family to a foreign environment, without knowing the language, local culture and customs. To run the facility and support the refugees, we have arranged to work with the Organisation for Refugee Assistance (ORA). We will fund this operation for as long as the situation requires.”
“The story of Ukraine giving up nuclear weapons under the Budapest Memorandum in exchange for some security guarantees from Russia, the US and the UK is particularly powerful and personally very moving for our nation, which has the Munich Agreement in its history. That is also why I appeal to the public and the administration to set an example and to help Ukraine effectively. In addition to humanitarian aid, by changing the immigration rules for refugees to allow them to integrate into our society with dignity without feeling inferior – many of them may lose their homes for several times already due to Russian aggression,” added Dušan Šenkypl, Partner at Pale Fire Capital.
“We can go beyond describing what happened, but in any case, this is the biggest aggression in Europe since the end of the Second World War. A terrible situation that threatens millions of people. Ukraine and Ukrainians need and will need our help. What a group of investors from Pale Fire Capital have done today – a major donation to help Ukraine and a decision to prepare to take in refugees – is a huge act of solidarity and also a thoughtful consideration of how to prepare to help people who will seek refuge with us from war and Russian occupation. If we come together, there is a lot that we, as the Czech Republic, can do, it depends on each and every one of us,” says Šimon Pánek, Director of People in Need.
“The Czech Republic has managed to quickly take in many thousands of refugees from the wars in Bosnia and Kosovo, and civil society and volunteers will, of course, be involved again in helping when refugees arrive from Ukraine,” confirmed Martin Rozumek, Director of the Organisation for Refugee Assistance (ORA).
The partners of Pale Fire Capital also make a very strong call to the government to start preparing for a scenario where up to 200,000 people from the conflict zone may arrive in the Czech Republic and create suitable and dignified living conditions for those who arrive, i.e. to find a suitable status for refugees. The partners, after consultation with the ORA, consider that the most appropriate status would be subsidiary protection, which would allow the arrivals to start working legally and supporting their families immediately (the status of asylum applicants does not allow the arrivals to work for 6 months). In addition, health insurance, school places for children, language lessons, psychosocial care and, for example, material emergency support are necessary.
More about the cooperating organizations:
People in Need have extensive experience working in Ukraine – it has been operating in the country since 2003. The armed conflict that erupted in 2014 in the eastern part of the country has dramatically worsened the lives of millions of local citizens, and the region is still in a dismal state and facing a number of existential challenges. There are more than 1.6 million internally displaced people in the country. People in Need has been delivering humanitarian aid there since then, currently helping more than 200 000 people. Humanitarian workers are working mainly in Donetsk and Luhansk. They distribute food vouchers in the areas where shops operate, distribute wood, coal or stoves for heating in winter, repair damaged houses and water pipes and bring drinking water to villages and schools. They are setting up playrooms for children where they can forget about the war for a while and, with the help of experts, better cope with the traumas they have experienced. But they also aim to support civic initiatives, journalists, human rights defenders, activists, provide advice and monitor human rights violations in Crimea. Into this bleak situation comes a further escalation of a long-standing conflict.
The Organization for Refugee Assistance (ORA) is a non-profit, non-governmental and humanitarian organization founded in Prague in 1991 as a civil association. Since 2014, ORA has been an association under the Civil Code. It has been helping refugees and foreigners in the Czech Republic for more than 30 years. The main activities of the organisation include providing free legal and social consultancy to applicants for international protection and other foreigners in the Czech Republic, organizing educational programs for the lay and professional public and other activities aimed at supporting the integration of foreigners. One of the objectives of the ORA is to fight against xenophobia and racial and national intolerance.