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Hemp Is Helping Rebuild Ukraine

With the senseless war decimating homes throughout the country, one builder is committed to using hemp to heal wounds.



This past February, Russian military forces illegally invaded the sovereign nation of Ukraine and began a ruthless campaign of bombing, destruction and murder. As a result, thousands fled or were displaced when their homes and businesses were destroyed. However, according to a new report, a local hero is helping to rebuild and heal his war-torn homeland with hemp.


Before the hostilities commenced, builder Sergiy Kovalenkov, the founder and CEO of construction company Hempire UA, had already begun building eco-friendly housing with "hempcrete" in Ukraine in 2015. Now, with the war hopefully nearing an end, he is resolved to begin building again, and his first project is for his people. He recently launched the non-profit fund "Hemp. Ukraine. Recover," dedicated to creating sustainable hemp-based housing and psychological assistance for citizens and veterans impacted by the violent invasion.


His first priority is constructing a 30-unit apartment complex for refugee families and orphans near the city of Morshyn. It will be the first of a three-phase project, including the restoration of a dairy building and new construction.


Regarding the initiative, Kovalenkov says, "A lot of the projects we had planned were stopped and clients fled the country. There (has been) a huge hit to the economy since millions of citizens are leaving with their savings."


"A lot of the projects we had planned were stopped and clients fled the country. There (has been) a huge hit to the economy since millions of citizens are leaving with their savings."

- Sergiy Kovalenkov, Founder and CEO, Hempire UA


Because of that drain of resources and money, Kovalenkov turned to crowdfunding to help raise the capital necessary to fund construction. However, he has also received support and expertise from like-minded civic leaders. With locally sourced hurd and binding materials donated by Hempire, hempcrete is being used to go up around wooden frame structures to build the complex designed by architect Roman Pomazan, who also donated his skills and talents to the project.


Additionally, "Hemp. Ukraine. Recover." is also helping educate refugees who "lost everything" in hempcrete construction, enabling them to build their own homes. Kovalenko views these new hemp-based building skills as invaluable for rebuilding in the post-war era.


As construction on the initial project continues through the winter, "Hemp. Ukraine. Recover." will focus on fundraising, media outreach activities, and lining up supply sources to ramp up construction during the spring.


Moreover, all those efforts will be critical to help Kovalenkov realize his vision. Because of the war, fewer farmers could plant hemp this past spring. Likewise, even though it is possible to import hurd from other countries, higher transportation costs, import taxes, power outages, fuel shortages and an overall rise in the cost of raw materials have created daunting challenges for Kovalenkov and his team. However, they remain undeterred and resolute in their commitment to rebuilding their precious homeland.


The non-profit has already raised $51,000 of the estimated $362,000 needed to finish the phase one apartment complex. The group also hopes to secure an additional $1,000,000 for a housing and rehabilitation center for Ukrainian war veterans as part of the other phases of the initiative.


Kovalenkov would also like veterans from Ukraine and worldwide to participate in the project as part of the healing process. He says, "We'll be inviting veterans from other countries to assist us on the construction of his project and share PTSD recovery experience with thousands of our veterans, who will also be involved in hemp construction."


"We'll be inviting veterans from other countries to assist us on the construction of his project and share PTSD recovery experience with thousands of our veterans, who will also be involved in hemp construction."

- Sergiy Kovalenkov, Hemp. Ukraine. Recover.


Furthermore, Kovalenkov is also an ardent supporter of using medicinal cannabis to aid those who have war-related PTSD. He is part of a group of marijuana advocates that recently drafted a law to legalize medical cannabis in Ukraine, which the government wholeheartedly supports.


Adversity reveals a person and a nation's true character. Sergiy Kovalenkov and the men and women of Ukraine who are helping put their country back together are shining examples of the Ukrainian people's strength, courage and virtue. It is a beautiful reminder that even in the face of bullets, bombs and sheer evil, the human spirit and a resilient plant that heals on many levels can still overcome and shine so brightly. Russia imprisons people for possessing a flower. Yet, Ukraine uses that same flower to rebuild its future.


That's all we need to know.


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