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Rotary Volunteers Bring Emergency Power to Ukraine

Solar Generators Empower Resilience at Front-Line Facilities

Emergency and planned power outages mean that Ukraine faces an extreme challenge to sustaining consistent electric power to facilities providing essential care and humanitarian relief to citizens. Ukrainian hospitals are under immense strain to provide quality care. Variable electricity from traditional backup gas generators and surges in the grid can seriously damage crucial medical devices such as ventilators, incubators, and patient monitors.

“Since March, New Use Energy (NUE) products have been actively deployed to provide emergency power to frontline clinics and hospitals around the country,” said Paul Shmotolokha, NUE CEO. “With our partners in Germany, we built a 220v European SunKit, a solar lithium battery-powered generator, specifically to meet the challenges that Ukraine is facing.”

Past President of the Rotary E-Club of WASH Heidi Rickels was moved to action when she met a local Ukrainian refugee family who had narrowly escaped the war and was sponsored to America through Uniting for Ukraine.

“After hearing the Zinchenko’s story and watching moving videos of their home city of Kharkiv before and after the war, my heart was broken for the people,” said Rickels. “I was at home in a warm house in the midst of a Montana snowstorm with negative temperatures outside, and I imagined the people still left in Ukraine struggling to survive without power.”

Rickels’ 20+ years in international development and global health fed into her desire to make an impact where she could. Reaching out through her Rotary network, a campaign was quickly put together to respond. Working with the Rotary Club of Kharkiv “New Level,” this larger campaign aims to empower resilience in Ukraine by providing power to critical facilities like hospitals, field clinics, and humanitarian hubs on the front line through lithium-powered backup generators.

The first phase of response will include four SunKit generators sent directly to Kharkiv Regional Clinical Perinatal Center in eastern Ukraine which was hit hard by Russian strikes that have crippled much of the infrastructure.

“The Sunkit, when paired with SunTarp portable solar panels, is so easy to use that we have now created a number of ‘solar doctors’ from Severdonetsk to Mykolaiv to Lviv,” said Shmotolokha.

Since the campaign began in January, other hospitals, field clinics and humanitarian hubs have come forward requesting support. Generous donors with a heart for making an impact in Ukraine have reached out seeking ways to help. Because of this, the campaign is planning a full-scale effort to empower resilience at front-line facilities.

“Along with our Rotary Kharkiv partners and the generous donations of Rotarians and individuals from around the world, we will save precious lives for years to come. That is what this is all about,” said Shmotolokha.

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