A Victoria-based organization that specializes in 3D printing prosthetics is taking its technology to Ukraine to help victims of the war.
The Victoria Hand Project, founded by Dr. Nick Dechev, has developed a printer capable of creating a prosthetic hand, with all its components, in just 24 hours.
This technology is especially vital in Ukraine, where the demand for prosthetics has risen due to Russia’s invasion and traditional prosthetic devices are often out of reach for many.
“Right now they’ve got a big spike in limb loss and traditional prosthetic devices are very expensive,” Dechev said. “And Victoria Hand offers a solution I think that can meet an interim need for at least two years or so until people get a much higher quality device.”
Dechev will be part of the latest group to travel to Ukraine from Vancouver Island, delivering aid and relief for residents with other volunteers including Sooke School District Chair Ravi Sharma.
The war in Ukraine is also causing disruptions in education, with power outages caused by the conflict leaving many students unable to attend class, so Sharma is bringing basic supplies such as books, pencils, and art supplies.
“To not have the basic necessities to be able to learn breaks my heart. And I’m honoured to be able to be a part of the mission that works to provide that,” Sharma said.
Bob Beckett, who is organizing the Ukraine Humanitarian Mission, believes it’s more important than ever to support the people of Ukraine as the war continues to rage on.
“Ukrainians are living this, it’s almost a year now,” he said. “For us to arrive and say, we don’t support Putin’s war, that we stand with you, is a strong, strong statement,” Beckett said.
The team is partnering with a Canadian charity to deliver medical supplies, medicine and rescue equipment to Ukrainians.
WATCH: Victoria charity needs help to provide prosthetic arms for Ukrainians injured in war