Elizabethtown College sent a mix of 93 used computers, screens and mice off to Ukraine to help students without necessary technology for their education.
All levels of education in Ukraine have been greatly disrupted by the war, said Andrew Kinsel, founder and owner of the Ukranian nonprofit organization, Ukraine Protection and Development Fund. His organization is facilitating the donation of Elizabethtown College’s computers to Ukrainian students.
The students need donations to replace technology that is often stolen or damaged by Russian soldiers.
Kinsel said in an interview with LNP | LancasterOnline Thursday that a computer that might not be the top of the line in the U.S. is like “gold” for Ukranians – and, it’s a good method of recycling, “Ecologically it’s good… it’s taking junk and giving it to somebody that really needs it.”
Approximately 17 million people have been displaced, roughly 62,000 have died and more than 140,000 buildings have been destroyed in the war Russia waged against Ukraine since February 2022, according to Reuters news agency.
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In fact, the war has hindered education for 5.3 million children in Ukraine, according to UNICEF, and those who could flee could take very little with them – especially not a laptop or computer.
Students in Ukraine are attending school amid air raids and artillery fire, which can make study impossible, Kinsel said.
“I have been in schools in areas liberated from Russian occupation where the roof was damaged, walls shot or all the computers stolen,” Kinsel wrote in a Facebook post. “Universities have suffered rocket attacks and Ukrainian language books burned.”
Multiple efforts, one fund
Kinsel started the Ukraine Protection and Development Fund in May 2022, shortly after the current fighting broke out. Adopt a School, the program Elizabethtown College participated in, is one of the organization’s efforts.
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Though he’s not sure how many students the organization has helped specifically, Kinsel noted that one computer can help five to 10 students in Ukraine. In some parts of the country no more than five students can gather in one spot to prevent themselves from becoming targets of artillery fire.
Adopt a School is just one program of the Ukraine Protection and Development Fund. Through its other efforts – Generators for Life and Computers for the Front – the organization also donated more than 1,000 pieces of electronic equipment to soldiers on the front line, raised over $500,000 to supply body armor to military units and has donated over 100 electric generators to villages damaged by the Russians.
Kinsel has been living near Kyiv, Ukraine, since 1992. A Houston, Texas, native, Kinsel originally came to Ukraine while interning in the U.S. Embassy there during his time studying at American University in Washington, D.C.
He was planning to return to America that summer but instead, he began working with a startup media