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Europe's first 3D printing school to be built in war-torn Ukraine

2024-04-16 09:21:08  News

Nonprofit organization Team4Humanity (TEAM4UA) has unveiled plans to build Europe's first 3D printed school in the war-torn streets of Ukraine.

More than 2,000 schools have reportedly been damaged or destroyed since Russia launched its full-scale invasion of Ukraine in February 2022. But as Ukrainians begin to move back to the relative safety of the western city of Lviv on the border with Poland, Team4Humanity has begun plans to rebuild the country's infrastructure through 3D printing.

"It saves time. In terms of energy costs, it's efficient and fast," Team4Humanity strategy board member Charles Tiné told Euronews Next. The insulation is done very effectively. It's not like housing refugees in a building that lasts two weeks. It's long-term, and when it's done, you can pack up your 3D printer, put it on a truck, and move to other places."

3D Printing School in Ukraine 

(Proposed 3D Printing School in Ukraine)

Team4Humanity's Ukraine mission

As a humanitarian aid foundation in Ukraine, Team4Humanity's work since the beginning of the war has focused on providing vital food, medical supplies, and hygiene products to the country's citizens. To date, the organization has supported more than 100,000 people in this way across 17 oblasts of Ukraine. However, while the war still rages on the country's eastern front, Team4Humanity says Western cities like Lviv are increasingly attractive to refugees seeking to return.

One way NGOs are looking to rebuild Ukraine is by 3D printing new housing to facilitate their arrival and support residents who were forced into shelters after their homes were destroyed. A further 10,000 homes will need to be built to meet Lviv's demand, but Team4Humanity says it will take at least two years to build them via traditional construction.

By comparison, using 3D printing, the organization believes construction can be completed in as little as 48 hours, allowing Lviv's demand for homes to be "met in a matter of months." The nonprofit added that combining additive manufacturing with other advanced technologies could create an opportunity to build back better while ensuring that rebuilding occurs "according to the Ukrainian way of life."

Through this strategy, Team4Humanity envisions being able to build "safe and sustainable communities" made up of environmentally friendly, energy-efficient homes. According to the NGO, these communities could use internal recycled water systems and solar panels to produce renewable energy while allowing resources to be shared between households.

Data from European border agency Frontex on the number of Ukrainians returning to the country 

(Data from European border agency Frontex on the number of Ukrainians returning to the country)

"Back2UA" and rebuilding schools

Building on the foundation laid by Team4Humanity's HIVE shelter-building program, it has also launched its "Back2UA" initiative. The project has seen the nonprofit provide information and transportation assistance to those seeking to return to Ukraine and shift its focus to meeting their daily needs, including their children's education.

Safe Schools, a Ukrainian organization that tracks the country's lost education infrastructure, said more than 7 million children were affected. The issue has also attracted the attention of some charities, with Jennifer Nelson, director of crisis response at World Vision Ukraine, recently stating that "the conflict is jeopardizing the future of an entire generation of Ukrainian children."

To help, Team4Humanity plans to bring 15 3D printers into the country and then teach Ukrainians how to use them to recycle debris from destroyed buildings into new infrastructure. Despite Lviv being hit by a missile earlier this week, the group said it still planned to proceed with the construction, although it admitted they had been delayed.

"This definitely doesn't take us one centimeter away from our goal, which is to help people rebuild what was destroyed and educate themselves in the long term," Tine added. After school, we can 3D print bridges and warehouses, and once the war in Ukraine is over, the idea is to move these 3D printers to other places where they are needed.

3D Printing School in Ukraine 


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