Within hours of the invasion of Ukraine, and thanks to a call to action from Footprint Project’s Will Heegaard, the New Use Energy family began putting the wheels in motion for a humanitarian response.
NUE CEO Paul Shmotolokha’s wife Bohdanna grew up in Lviv, Ukraine and has a number of family members still in country impacted by the war. She immediately started a GoFundMe campaign and quickly raised over $25,000 for Footprint Project to support refugees.
NUE’s partnerships quickly expanded to include SmartAid, Enova, FootPrint Project, Moldova World Children’s Fund, ITDRC, Unite to Lite, Gaard One and Global Empowerment Mission. Thanks to these partners and several large donors, the total raised reached over $600,000 of assistance.
Using Shmotolokha’s network of international contacts and the experience of the NUE team with logistics, particularly when it comes to shipping power components, the group was able to provide vital humanitarian relief within the first few weeks. Given the severity of the blackouts and grid failures happening throughout Ukraine, the team decided to focus on these power solutions for Ukrainian citizens and refugees. “Our partners in Ukraine and Moldova communicate the needs. Working with Footprint Project we try to focus on a niche which is the lack of power but our partnership with Smart Aid and Moldova World Children’s Fund (WMCF) brought us into more areas such as refugee camp infrastructure, medicine and communications,” said Shmotolokha.
As a US Army veteran, Shmotolokha had already joined Team Rubicon and when the war started he recruited family members in Ukraine and together they helped Team Rubicon’s recon team enter Ukraine and establish the base of operations which now has over 20 volunteers serving in Western Ukraine. “Helping other NGO’s in an area of the world where they are not familiar is easy when people like Yarema from Lviv step up quickly and go out of their way to help Americans who want to help Ukraine.”
Surgical Headlights and Battery Packs
Global Empowerment Mission (GEM) purchased 60 battery operated surgical headlamps from Enova that Shmotolokha delivered to the Western Ukrainian Children’s Medical Center for further distribution to a network of hospitals in Ukraine. These headlamps made it into the conflict zones where civilians are being wounded and doctors need them to help treat casualties. Medical illumination devices are high in the lists of needs from hospitals in the active war zones.
These headlamps made it into the hand of doctors on the ground in conflict zones treating wounded civilians.
Additionally, NUE is building 100 solar generators and portable power stations for SmartAID and Footprint Project which are being shipped to hospitals and used for backup power for critical communications. The portable power stations are also being shipped to provide power for ambulances and first responders. “Thanks to Tier 1 Solar, Merlin Solar and M&P Canopies of California who moved so quickly to provide us with the materials for us to quickly manufacture our lightweight portable solar panels that make it possible to airlift them quickly to Ukraine” said Shmotolokha.
Winter Hats with USB Rechargeable Lights
Gaard One packaged and shipped 800 warm winter hats with USB rechargeable lights. These hats will be distributed to nurses, doctors, first responders and people seeking shelter in bunkers.
Beds and Solar Generators for Refugees in Moldova
Thanks to a cash donation to the Moldova World Children’s Fund, 1,000 beds and bedding are being sourced from Moldova and delivered to a refugee camp near Palanca. Footprint Project has purchased a solar trailer that will be manufactured in Germany and delivered Moldova.
Other aid organizations have turned to NUE because of company’s success in getting these supplies into the country.
- The Information Technology Disaster Resource Center (ITDRC) donated 50 iPads and 70 Cambium internet access points. The iPads will be provided to children’s hospitals and wards and the Ukrainian government will distribute the internet access points to the right locations.
- Unite to Light are sending 500 solar-powered, portable reading lights that will be distributed to people in bunkers and is working to send 500 solar powered phone charging power banks.
“We want to do good as a company,” said Shmotolokha. “In times like these, you can’t just think about your own business. So the team had to divert time and attention to these medical related initiatives and refugee assistance in various areas”.
Efforts are still ongoing to provide support to Ukraine conflict survivors. To donate to the campaign or get involved, Fundraiser by Paul Shmotolokha : Help Ukrainian Conflict Refugees and Hospitals (gofundme.com) or direct to Footprint Project.