Hello, I'm Dmytro, and I come from Ukraine, a land marked by its enduring struggle for freedom and democracy. Our journey towards independence, which culminated in 1991, has been fraught with challenges, including a Russian occupation that sought to extinguish our aspirations. In 2014, as Ukraine stood firm in its pursuit of self-determination, Russia's aggression intensified, resulting in the annexation of Crimea and the seizure of the eastern region.
My wife and I were among the fortunate ones to escape the initial Russian invasion in 2014. We decided to make a fresh start in the United States, a country that welcomed us with open arms. The kindness and generosity we encountered here left an indelible mark on our hearts.
My immigration story is woven with the incredible acts of selflessness from individuals who went the extra mile to lend a helping hand. Proletariat, my initial foray into the gaming industry in the United States, transformed into my second family. They extended their unwavering support and genuine care, which served as a healing balm for the wounds inflicted by the trials of war and occupation.
Inspired by this generosity, I felt a calling to give back. Thus, the Palianytsia Foundation was born. Together with a group of mentors, we set out to support young Ukrainians aspiring to forge careers in the Tech/Game Development industry. We provided equipment, hosted lectures and workshops, and enlisted instructors and mentors from a variety of disciplines, who you can find out more about here. Our mission was off to a promising start.
Then came February 24, 2022, a day forever etched in my memory. Russia's full-scale invasion of Ukraine plunged me into a state of helplessness and despair. But the young Ukrainians we were supporting needed us more than ever, and it was a responsibility I couldn't ignore.
Once again, the American community rallied to our aid. We spared no effort in rescuing those in need, covering evacuation costs, providing essential supplies, and offering support to those whose lives had been shattered. We continued our educational efforts, nurturing the spirits of these young Ukrainians amidst adversity.
In the world of gaming, entering the industry and mastering related professions has never been an easy feat. It demands innovation, resilience, and a burning passion to create something extraordinary. These young Ukrainians, seasoned by life's trials and inspired by the mentors who guide them, possess the determination and courage to transform the gaming industry for the better. They carry with them the hope and dreams of a nation that has long yearned for a brighter future.
With a year and a half of Palianytsia's existence behind us, we've gained the experience and knowledge needed to move forward. Today, our foundation stands as a beacon of hope. We are an officially recognized charitable foundation comprised of 40 resilient young Ukrainians, with approximately 200 more eagerly anticipating our support. We ourselves are supported by a team of over 20 mentors and our sustained by the contributions of everyday heroes.
These remarkable young Ukrainians, despite the trials they've faced, continue to pursue their dreams with unwavering determination. Their stories are a testament to their resilience:
- Taras, a 16-year-old who lost his father in the conflict, perseveres in his education while supporting his injured mother.
- Vanya, a courageous 12-year-old from the frontline zone, maintains an unbroken attendance record for classes despite seeking refuge in a bomb shelter.
- Alexander, who faced multiple relocations, remains steadfast in his faith for a better future.
- Sasha, who endured captivity in Russia, aspires to help others who share her plight.
These stories, like many others, highlight the indomitable spirit of Ukrainian youth, determined to uphold freedom, democracy, and Western values.
It's now up to all of us to carry their tales forward, to be the torchbearers for these remarkable individuals. Your support can help spread their story.
How can you help?
- **Hardware and Software:** Empower young Ukrainians by providing them with essential tools such as laptops, phones, tablets, and software.
- **Immigration and Evacuation:** Contribute to relocation efforts, covering travel, housing, sustenance, and specialized care.
- **Mentorship:** Share your expertise in the IT field and provide guidance to shape their futures.
- **Spread Awareness:** Share our mission through your networks, sparking collaborations and assistance.
- **Internships:** Offer valuable professional experience to our students.
- **Become an Ambassador:** Use your influence to amplify our message.
- **Website Development:** Request websites created by our talented students, with proceeds benefiting our foundation.
- **Technical Expertise:** If your project involves Python or C++, our skilled students are eager to assist.
- **U4U Program:** Sponsor Ukrainians seeking to establish themselves in the USA.
- **Fundraising Initiatives:** Organize events, campaigns, or drives to mobilize resources.
No contribution is too small, and every act of kindness matters. Your actions have the power to transform lives, offering hope and creating better futures.
Evil can be defeated not only by the power of weapons but also by the power of education and kindness. These forces not only bring positive change to the lives of individuals but also have the remarkable capacity to heal their souls. Education enlightens minds, fostering understanding and empathy, while kindness touches hearts, fostering compassion and unity. Together, they work harmoniously to transform not just individuals but also entire communities and societies. This transformation ripples across the world, making it a better place for all of us. In the face of adversity, let us remember that our greatest strength lies not only in the might of arms but also in the enduring forces of education and kindness, capable of vanquishing darkness and bringing light to our shared humanity.
Thank you for being a part of this journey. Together, we can make a difference that transcends borders and circumstances. We look forward to sharing more details about our progress in the future.