International hemp building pioneer Sergiy “Doctor Hemphouse” Kovalenkov broadcasts from his hometown of Kyiv in Ukraine Sunday, Feb. 27. Photo courtesy of Facebook.

By Jean Lotus

Hemp building pioneers in Ukraine and Poland have responded to the Russian invasion with courage and generosity. 

One of the world’s most respected international hemp builders, Ukrainian Sergiy “Doctor Hemphouse” Kovalenkov  urged followers to share social media messages this week showing the destruction of an apartment building near his offices in Kyiv. Kovalenkov, president of Hempire UA, who travels the world promoting hemp building, said under martial law he is not allowed to leave the country. 

“Civilians are getting killed, residential buildings are being attacked, yesterday a missile hit a building next to my office.  It could have been me…,” Kovalenkov said.

Kovalenkov also addressed the Russian message that Ukrainians were persecuting Russian-speaking residents.

“I am a Russian-speaking person [who has] never had a problem living in this country.” Kovalenkov wrote. “That’s why I love it so much. This is our home! Another country is destroying our homeland, but one thing the invader forgot about is the Ukrainian spirit and love of freedom. We will win either way! Glory to Ukraine!” he added.

Click here to watch Kovalenkov’s broadcast.

Ukrainian history of hemp growing

Ukraine has been an international leader in growing, processing and utilizing industrial hemp for textiles and other uses. Linkedin member Oksana Devoe, who works in the Ukrainian hemp textile industry also used social media to call for an end to the Russian invasion. 

“I am being followed by people who support ecology and Hemp from around the globe, if you trust my opinion, please join us for the fight,” Devoe said. 

Oksana Devoe, who works in a sustainable hemp textile company in Ukraine, appealed on LinkedIn for an end to the Russian invasion. Photo courtesy of LinkedIn.

Hempcrete workshop pioneers Kehrt and Marzenna Reyher, owners of Poland’s historical Naklo Palace, about 150 miles from the Ukranian border, have opened their residence to house Ukrainian child refugees. Photo courtesy of Naklo Foundation.

Welcoming refugees near the border

Meanwhile in Poland, 150 miles from the Ukrainian border, hemp building and pioneers were preparing to welcome war refugees into their large home.
The Naklo Foundation, run by HempToday publisher Kehrt Reyher and his wife Marzenna, have opened the historical Naklo Palace up to the housing of Ukrainian children from an orphanage and one mother with her children and dog. 

 “We are waiting for a small family with a dog and 7 orphaned childrenso happy to give them all a home,” Marzenna Reyher told HempBuild Mag. 

If you want to donate to this humanitarian effort, please go to this LINK. 

A Ukrainian mother and her children wait to escape from Ukraine. Photo courtesy the Naklo Foundation.

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Originally published February 28, 2022 on Hemp Building Mag