Sister City Project
Irpin Deepens Cooperation with it's Sister City of Milwaukee
Irpin, Ukraine, June 29, 2023
The mayor of Irpin, Oleksandr Markushyn, met online with the mayor of Milwaukee's sister city, Cavalier Johnson. They discussed the plan for further development of cooperation between the two cities.
“Today, Milwaukee, the United States and people from all over the world have redefined the meaning of patriotism as they see Ukrainians defending their home from the Russian aggressor. We will try to support your initiatives, especially those related to youth development in Irpin.” – Cavalier Johnson, Mayor of Milwaukee.
Milwaukee will look for opportunities to help build a modern art centre in Irpin for talented young people. The process will be co-ordinated by Anya Verkhovskaya, founder of the charity “Friends of Be an Angel”.
“Now we are finalizing the project documentation and it will help to move the meeting forward together with the Mayor of Milwaukee. And we will definitelyprepare a presentation and tell you how much it costs, how many children will study, and how long it will take to build. I am sure we will raise the funds for this.” – Oleksandr Markushyn, Irpin Mayor.
In July, Milwaukee will provide Irpin with Internet equipment for educational institutions. In addition, a charity bike ride will be held in the twin city to raise funds for the reconstruction of Irpin. In addition, a corner in honour of Irpin will appear at Milwaukee Airport, where a mosaic mural dedicated to St. Petersburg has been located for decades.
“When the war broke out, the city of Milwaukee completely closed this wall. And now there is just a white wall at the Milwaukee airport. Mayor Markushyn suggested to Mayor Johnson that this wall be made in honour of the hero city of Irpin. So that all those people who live in Milwaukee, which is about 2.5 million people, as well as all those people who come and go, know about the hero city of Irpin.” – Anya Verkhovskaya, founder of the charity organization Friends of be an Angel.
As a reminder, Irpin’s cooperation with Milwaukee began in 2018. The cooperation agreement was signed by the then mayors of the cities, Volodymyr Karpliuk and Tom Barrett. At that time, Milwaukee became the first American city to support Irpin.
$44 million and generators for Odessa hospitals: where did the help come from
Odesa, Ukraine, Jun 29, 2023
Anya Verkhovskaya is a philanthropist, volunteer and human rights activist from Milwaukee, USA. Anya worked with Steven Spielberg on a project to document the testimonies of Holocaust survivors. Now she is in Ukraine with a humanitarian mission. Anya began to help our country and Odessa from the first days of a full-scale war.
“I just couldn’t help it. I have always taught my children that you can’t just stand there and watch and do nothing when injustice happens. If people had not allowed it, the Holocaust would never have happened.”
“From February 24, I just started calling different numbers, people who I don’t know in Ukraine and asking if they need help and what kind of help they need. Nobody was surprised. I coordinated the evacuation of people, gave them the names and contacts of people who could help them on the spot.”
“So, quite by accident, I met Andreas Toelke, a German journalist and philanthropist, the founder of the Be an Angel foundation, which was involved in the evacuation of people from Ukraine through Odessa. I suggested that he start a partnership organization in Milwaukee called Friends of Be an Angel.”
Since the beginning of the war, Anya and her team have sent medical supplies, generators, and anti-radiation equipment worth $44 million. Hospitals and maternity hospitals in Odessa received powerful generators from Friends of Be an Angel during the blackouts. This allowed medical institutions to continue to operate and save lives.
In addition to delivering relief supplies, Anya helps children with Muscular Atrophy Syndrome (SMA) receive life-saving treatment. SMA is a genetic disorder. Children with this diagnosis lose the ability to move and eventually breathe if they do not receive adequate treatment.
Together with Irina Suslova, head of the Women’s Movement For Future Foundation, Anya evacuated 20 children with this disease from Ukraine to Europe and the USA.
Treatment of one child abroad costs 2.5 million dollars. This amount is covered by relevant charitable programs and medical insurance payments in the host countries. After completing the full course, the child can live a full life.
Also “Friends of Be an Angel” is the official sponsor of the program “Irpin and Milwaukee” – sister cities. Anya and her team organized a teleconference between the mayor of Irpin, Alexander Markushin, and the mayor of Milwaukee, Cavalier Johnson. The authorities of Milwaukee promised financial support for the construction and restoration of educational and sports infrastructure in the city, as well as donate equipment for connecting to the Internet.