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March 21: Reflections from a Cemetery
UKRAINE CONFILCT Reflections on walking through a cemetery of fresh graves of Ukrainian soldiers.We did not start out looking for this place. Had we known we were going to come across it, we might have [...]
Hands on Global is Returning to Ukraine in March 2023
Several Hands On Global team members are headed on a road trip to visit refugees we have known and supported who are now living in Germany, Italy and Austria (at their own expense).
Myself and a filmmaker will then meet them in Budapest and head into Ukraine to bring much needed medical supplies. We are planning to interview the trauma surgeons we are bringing these supplies to and report on the human physical and spiritual impact of war.
Three Hands On Global team members went to Ukraine December 1-15, 2022. We carried over 300 pounds of complex, limb saving orthopedic supplies. These were delivered to three Surgeons in Kyiv: a military trauma surgeon, a civilian trauma surgeon and a pediatric trauma surgeon. The day the supplies were delivered, the military surgeon had just performed six back-to-back amputations. The supplies we brought were from SIGN INTERNATIONAL Fracture Care and have the potential to avert amputations.
Our team returned to the Mahala orphanage where we had provided primary care in April – June of 2022. This orphanage housed 51 disabled children. It had been home to 10 before the war, but due to the inability to care for a disabled child on the front lines, an additional 41 children were moved there in April 2022. The budget is for the initial 10 children and has not been increased to accommodate the other 41 kids. Rolling power outages, due to the missile attacks on power stations, complicated the conditions here. There was a generator to provide basic lighting, not enough money for fuel and there was a need for a generator for the washer and dryers. Many of the children had incontinence issues and laundry is essential. Our team was able to purchase a generator in Romania and get it transferred across the border into Ukraine. We provided $1000 USD towards diesel fuel to run it.
Due to the inadequate budget, providing food is a challenge. Lo- cal organizations helped but the director had to constantly work on getting food donations. Hands On Global was able to work with a local Ukrainian food distributor which funded a guaranteed three month supply of food (including meat and eggs).
A HOG team member brought hats, gloves, batteries and flashlights to distribute. In addition, we took a day to return to Romania and buy more batteries, power-banks, battery operated radios and energy bars. We filled the trunk and backseat of the rental car and were able to get across the border with these supplies. They were distributed at the Italian run Warming Center in Chernavitzi. This warming center supplies warmth, food and charging stations for anyone. All over Ukraine the power is on for three hours and off for three hours, except in places like Kyiv where it can be off for days. There are limited accommodations at the Warming center for Internally Displaced People arriving from other parts of Ukraine with no place to go. We were told this number is growing.
Benefits: We know for sure we were of benefit to 41 disabled chil- dren and the staff of the orphanage. The orthopedic supplies saved limbs. How many, I don’t know. But at least 100 people; soldiers, civilians and children had a chance because of these supplies. As difficult as it is to fly into a war zone for two weeks, our team is totally committed to continue bringing these vital medical supplies. SIGN FX CARE has committed to continuing to supply the equipment. The number of amputations of one or more limbs is staggering. Hands On Global is committed to doing anything we can to save a person from losing a limb. AND…. because your team supported our team you too are LIMB SAVERS!!!
Our team is planning to return in March to bring more ortho- pedic supplies and check in on the orphanage to address current needs. When this war is over there will be tremendous medical needs: physical therapy, pain management and psychological care. Hands On Global will be there.
Thank you for supporting Hands On Global’s humanitarian work. There is so much need at times it feels overwhelming. Our team is small but one of action and with your help we continue to work “hand to hand and heart to heart”.
Valerie Hellermann, Executive Director
Contact Valerie for more information: [email protected]