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Hughes Hall PhD student transforms lives of families in Ukraine

(Courtesy of the University of Cambridge)

Keeping out the cold: Engineer’s humanitarian mission to insulate thousands of bomb and bullet-damaged homes in Ukraine

A window that takes 15 minutes to build – designed by a Hughes Hall PhD student who has paused his studies – is transforming the lives of families in Ukraine, by helping them repair bullet and bomb-damaged windows and insulate their freezing homes.

Engineer Harry Blakiston Houston created the window – and the ‘Insulate Ukraine’ project – as a simple way to make a huge difference to those in liberated areas of Ukraine who have been left picking up the pieces following Russian retreats. The concept uses ‘triple-glazed’ polyethylene to protect against the cold, costs around £12 per square meter of window, and can be built at home in quarter of an hour from basic materials.

“There was an old woman in Mykolaiv, in southern Ukraine, who had been sleeping in her bathtub for two months because it was the warmest place in her house,” said Harry. “We were able to get her back to some kind of normality after the windows went in. The house was immediately warmer and lighter – she was able to rearrange everything and actually live in her home again. That was the start of it – the signal we needed, to go, ‘Right, ok, we’re on to something here’.”

For the full University of Cambridge article, see: www.cam.ac.uk/stories/Cambridge-PhD-student-help-for-Ukraine.