The Victory project hopes to help Ukrainians wounded in the war

Currently operating in countries such as Nepal, Guatemala and Ecuador, the Victoria-based charity is looking to expand into Ukraine.


The Victoria Hand Project is reaching out to help the many Ukrainians who have lost hands and upper limbs due to the ongoing conflict in their country.

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The project, which makes low-cost prosthetic hands in developing countries, began as a research effort at the University of Victoria in 2014. It branched out on its own in 2015 and this year became a US-registered charity. .and Canada.

It is in eight developing countries, plus Canada and the US.

Using partners in the countries it serves, it helps create prosthetic hands and arms using 3D printers. While a conventional prosthetic hand can cost between $2,000 and $3,000, its 3D version can be made for as little as $300.

The raw materials needed to make a hand cost approximately $130, with the rest reflecting the cost of labor to fit the limb or hand to the customer.

Currently operating in countries such as Nepal, Guatemala and Ecuador, the Victoria-based charity is looking to expand into Ukraine.

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“We are currently looking for people who know people in Ukraine,” said Kelly Knights, a biomedical systems designer at the charity. “We are mainly engineers. We are looking for a clinical and technical partner in that country.”

She estimates it will cost $69,000 to set up the operation, or less if the 3D printer is donated. But they are not looking for donations at this time.

“We will need the financing, but right now we need a partner. We hope to settle in Ukraine or in a nearby country.”

The project typically provides each country with a donated 3D printer. It also provides a computer capable of running the software that controls the 3D printer, a camera to scan the impression of the limb or cast, and the raw materials needed for the printer to create the hand.

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The local partner assesses the client, takes measurements and a plaster impression for the prosthetics, and fits the finished product to the person.

The project does not yet know the extent of the demand for its services in Ukraine, but wants to be ready when they open their operation in Ukraine.

Citizens of Ukraine will join 200 people from around the world who have benefited from the project since its inception.

The hand that the project initially created in 2014 has undergone four major design changes, with the latest incorporating metal for the first time for added strength.

The project can create upper and lower arms, as well as four hand models, including one designed for children.

Its most popular model is one in which the operator can open and close the fingers of the hand with a shrug.

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Another model is designed to be more realistic, but not functional.

“It is popular in countries where there is still a superstition or stigma attached to a person who has lost limbs,” Knights said. “They may have a functional model that they wear in private, but when they do venture out in public, they prefer to have a cosmetic hand so as not to draw attention to their condition.”

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