#SidnetDonations: Marcin for Wikimedia Foundation and Doctors Without Borders

For October we financially support projects that touch on fundamental human rights: the right to information and to live a healthy life. This is the first time that open‑source and non‑profit initiatives have been selected by Marcin Wierzbicki – a Backend Go Developer working daily from the seaside.

Check which projects will receive our support as requested by Marcin.

Wikimedia Foundation

A non‑profit organization developing Wikipedia – one of the 10 most popular websites in the world, among other things. The purpose of the foundation is to protect the right to inform and to be informed as set out in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. The project goes far beyond a “free encyclopedia” – Wikimedia works against censorship, educates governments, and promotes free licenses.

“I think all of us have used one of the services offered by Wikimedia at least once. In addition to Wikipedia, the foundation also takes care of other projects related to archiving and sharing knowledge, so that it is always available for free to billions of people. The donations received by the foundation not only translate into maintenance and development of the sites, but also support content creators through grants, training, or legal protection,” explains our developer.

The idea of wiki (knowledge resources) borrowed from the creators of Wikipedia accompanies us every day at Sidnet. In our corporate knowledge bases we collect and update project objectives, the technologies used, good practices, and much other useful information.

Doctors Without Borders (Médecins Sans Frontières)

An international medical humanitarian organization founded in 1971. It brings aid in the face of armed conflict, epidemics, natural disasters, and refugee crises. It has a presence in areas affected by protracted and complex crises, including Syria, Yemen, South Sudan, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Nigeria, and Afghanistan.

“In too many parts of the world, people’s right to life and health care are still being taken away simply because they are caught up in a larger conflict. Doctors Without Borders, despite the risks, provides medical care to those in need in such places,” says Marcin.

To learn more about the challenges faced by Doctors Without Borders, listen to the Everyday Emergency podcast.

#SidnetDonations: Radek for Let’s Encrypt and the Ocalenie Foundation

At Sidnet, we have the Day of the Programmer every day, and another September holiday—International Day of Charity—is celebrated at least once a month, when it’s time for #SidnetDonations.

This time, the opensource and non‑profit projects that we are going to support have been chosen by Radek Stępiński. Our creative FullStack Developer combines programming with other passions. He programmed a metronome used in the piece of Wrocław Remote Orchestra (where Radek played several wind instruments), among other things. He is currently working on an online version of a popular associationbased party card game.

Let’s Encrypt

A non‑profit organization that issues free digital SSL/TLS certificates. Let’s Encrypt democratizes access to a secure HTTPS connection. It confirms the basic security level of almost 260 million websites, as well as FTP servers, e‑mail servers, and others.

Thanks to Let’s Encrypt, anyone can configure fully functioning encryption, which evokes trust in users. It takes less than an hour and one can do it without a deeper knowledge of the subject and completely free of charge. Regardless of whether you run a blog or an online store, today »https://« at the beginning of the address has almost become a standard, and thanks to Let’s Encrypt, adapting to it is quick and painless,” Radek explains.

The protocol for the automatic issuance and renewal of certificates is made available as an open standard.

Ocalenie Foundation (Rescue Foundation)

Established in 2000, the foundation helps foreigners to start a new life in Poland. It helps victims of torture. It provides free specialist legal, psychological and linguistic support, as well as assistance in everyday matters (contacts with institutions, renting a flat, starting work, enrolling in kindergartens and schools), which are much more difficult to deal with for people who don’t speak Polish or face discrimination.

Especially today, in the wake of the crisis in Afghanistan, migrants need help: those, who are already in Poland need support, so that they can become members of our society easier and faster, as well as those who have not reached their destination yet and have to wait in uncertainty at the border, often without basic supplies,our programmer says.

The Ocalenie Foundation is reporting on Facebook on the current situation of refugees at the Polish‑Belarusian border, also in Usnarz Górny.

Throughout the year, it also conducts workshops (including integration culinary and anti‑discrimination workshops for companies), trainings (e.g. for companies and HR departments that employ foreigners), language and vocational courses for various groups, such as uniformed services, administration employees, NGOs, volunteers, students, or children.

#SidnetDonations: Łukasz for Linux Mint and the Iskierka Foundation

In August we are supporting open‑source and charity projects established since 2006, which is when this month’s chooser, Łukasz Bownik, first went to school. Fifteen years have passed, and today both projects are widely popular with thriving communities, and Łukasz is a successful Full‑Stack Developer.

See what motivated the choices of this Sidnet young talent.

Linux Mint

A Linux distribution based on Debian and Ubuntu, available under the GNU license. Unlike these two systems, however, it is less restrictive about the use of non‑free and closed‑source software.

“What speaks to me is the motto of this distribution of Linux: ‘From freedom came elegance.’ Linux Mint uses Canonical packages and repositories, but is not dependent on corporate support. It’s developed by a self-organizing network of programmers and testers, which yields great results when it comes to graphics, performance, and ease of use,” says Łukasz.

We already supported Linux Mint in early 2020, on behalf of Wojtek Wąsik.

Since then the system has been expanded to include new features:

  • Bulky App for batch file renaming using your own rules (version 20.2, Uma).
  • Web App Manager for transforming any website into a desktop app (version 20.1, Ulyssa).
  • Warpinator for sharing files within a local network (version 20, Ulyana).

Iskierka (‘Sparkle’) Foundation

The foundation takes care of more than 700 children suffering from cancer, primarily in Silesia and Rzeszów. It is one of two Polish organizations to be members of CCI Europe—the European division of Childhood Cancer International. The foundation educates, helps acquire funding for treatment, and sponsors medication, rehabilitation, medical equipment, and hospital renovations.

It also helps its charges pursue their passions by involving them in:

  • The Children’s Oncological Orchestra, which works together with the Polish National Radio Symphony Orchestra and such artists as Artur Rojek, Daria Zawiałow and Raz Dwa Trzy.
  • Art therapy classes: visual arts, theatre and literature, and music.
  • Sailing, climbing, and horse riding camps.

“Cancer in children has a relatively high survival rate. But to cure it, you need comprehensive and often very expensive treatment. I support Iskierka because I would like everyone who has been affected by this deadly illness at a young age to have a chance to shape their own future,” he says.

#SidnetDonations: Olga for Citizen Evidence Lab and Oncorun – Together for health!

In the opensource project we’re supporting in July, the opensource element is not the source code itself, but an idea. Behind this unconventional approach to the #SidnetDonations initiative is Olga Muzyczuk, who manages IT projects in the Sidnet team—especially those involving branding, communication or usability. Sensitive to the human side of things, she gives credit to organizations fighting against dehumanization, i.e. those which expose human rights violations and restore the right to treatment for cancer patients.

Learn more about the organizations that will receive our financial support at Olga’s request.

Citizen Evidence Lab

A collaborative space for individuals and organizations committed to protecting human rights. Initiated by Amnesty International in 2014, it brings together investigators, researchers, journalists, engineers, programmers, and students from different countries.

When investigating human rights violations, they use photo and video verification and remote sensing, and more recently, increasingly innovative methods: crowdsourcing, data science, and machine learning.

Citizen Evidence Lab’s projects include:

  • Amnesty Decoders — a microtasking platform that leverages Amnesty International’s greatest strength—a community of several million people spread around the world. Thanks to the platform, researchers no longer have to process huge amounts of data on their own. They are supported by volunteers who analyze satellite images, documents or social media content.
  • Digital Verification Corps — an international program in which students from a number of partner universities verify visual social media content to provide evidence of human rights abuses. During training, students learn to confirm the authenticity of photos and videos, as well as verify the time and place where they were taken.
  • Sharing knowledge in the spirit of opensource. Citizen Evidence Lab provides not only working tools but also guidance materials. It teaches its community how to make ethical decisions when working with sensitive data, and how to protect from vicarious trauma.

Amnesty Decoders volunteers have so far supported online investigations on topics such as violence against women on Twitter, oil spills in the Niger Delta, and previously overlooked civilian deaths in Syria. It would take an individual researcher 2.5 years (!) to thoroughly investigate the latter topic. Currently, all projects are finished, but I have registered with their website and I am looking forward to join the next research,” stated Olga.

Oncorun – Together for health!

It’s a run around the National Cancer Institute (a virtual run since 2020) aimed at providing financial and mental support to those afflicted with cancer. Oncorun is the oldest oncology‑themed charity running event in Poland. It has been organized by the Sarcoma Association since 2008.

The initiative is of great importance to Olga because of her family’s cancer history. For a few years now, Olga has been supporting the Association with her expertise. She coordinates the website development and advises on communication. She is responsible, among other things, for the concept of this year’s 1% tax donation campaign.

“I don’t need to be good at running to be a part of the Oncorun community. There is room for everyone on the starting line: athletes, coders, kids, seniors, those who are healthy, those who are weakened from chemotherapy, people with prosthetic limbs, and people in wheelchairs. What Oncorunners have in common is sensitivity to cancer-related issues, gratitude towards medical personnel, and readiness to help those currently fighting the disease,” explains Olga.

The upcoming 14th edition of Oncorun will take place online on 12 September 2021.

#SidnetDonations: Krzysiek for SciPy and the Foundation for Polish Science

There is no shortage of science geeks in the Sidnet team, but when phrases such as “scientific computing”, “machine learning”, and “data science” come into play, the one who reacts most vividly may be Krzysiek Pisera. Our Senior Lead Developer overseeing work on projects for Edge NPD is a proponent of a scientific approach to software development and business management.

No wonder science is a keyword running through the open‑source and non‑profit projects we support at Krzysiek’s request. What are those projects?

SciPy

An open‑source software kit based on Python and used when solving various mathematical problems in software engineering.

The basic elements of the SciPy “ecosystem” are:

  • NumPy—a program used for matrix calculations
  • Matplotlib—a plot creator
  • iPython—an interactive interface
  • SymPy—a symbolic computing package
  • pandas—a program for supporting data analysis
  • SciPy library—a basic library for scientific computing

In several recent projects for Edge NPD, Krzysiek used NumPy, pandas, and iPython packages. Thanks to the SciPy library (the scipy.optimize package in particular), he solved optimization problems from the areas of linear programming.

“Solving our Client’s mathematically modeled business problem involved simultaneous operation on over 150 variables. In addition, constraints on these variables were dynamically created based on user‑provided instructions. As a result, executing just one optimization required performing up to a thousand mathematical equations and inequalities. The SciPy library allowed the finding of solutions in just a few seconds,” explains Krzysiek.

SciPy means also an engaged community of creators and bloggers as well as annual conferences held in Texas and their local versions: EuroSciPy, SciPy Japan, SciPy Latin America or SciPy India.

Paraphrasing Joey from “Friends”, our Senior Lead Developer sums up: “What’s not to like? Python? Good. Open-source? Good. Science? Gooood!”

Foundation for Polish Science

A non‑profit organization supporting scientists and research teams for the past 30 years. Apolitical and self-financing in principle, it is the largest extrabudgetary source of science funding in Poland.

START scholarship program ensures that the brightest scientists under 30 do not give up their research careers for economic or personal reasons. The development of Polish science should not require many years of sacrifice for young scientists,” says our lead developer.

In addition to consistent funding for scientific development, the Foundation is credited with, among other things, introducing Polish Studies at the Columbia University in New York and the Cambridge University in Great Britain.

#SidnetDonations: Staszek for LimeSurvey and the Gajusz Foundation

The projects we are supporting in May relate to Staszek’s past and future experiences. These include the professional experience of conducting surveys and the experience of being a parentStaszek will become one in just a few months.

Find out why selected opensource and nonprofit projects are so important to our Sales Specialist Michał Staszewski, who in a team full of Michałs is known as “Staszek”.

LimeSurvey

Leading opensource statistical survey software. It has been developed since 2003 and is provided without licensing fees. The LimeSurvey web application is written in PHP and designed to run in LAMP (Linux + Apache + MySQL + PHP) or similar environments.

“I previously used paid corporate survey systems such as SurveyGizmo or SurveyMonkey. When I reviewed LimeSurvey’s capabilities, I  ound that the open-source software does not lag behind its commercial counterparts. This software also allows you to conduct large surveys using advanced survey templates and automation,” explains Staszek.

What other benefits of free LimeSurvey does Staszek recognize?

  • More than 80 language versions and simplified translating of the survey into other languages.
  • 28 readymade question types, including singlechoice and multiplechoice questions, questions with the option to mark answers on the scale using a slider, and with date and time fields (in the selected format), etc.
  • Interactivity: hints, validation, the displaying of additional questions, and the skipping of irrelevant ones depending on the answers given.
  • Embedded analytics, data visualization, and export.
  • Access management: invitationonly, open, and public surveys.
  • Customizable appearance, including the addition of HTML/JavaScript code with custom templates.

Gajusz Foundation

Established in 1998, the foundation has been running the first hospice in central Poland for terminally ill children. Each year it supports more than 400 families facing not only terminal illness but also childhood cancers, lethal defects diagnosed during pregnancy, as well as traumatic events.

Gajusz Foundation initiated such projects as:

  • OKNO (WINDOW). Support for children who have experienced cancer. During therapeutic and integration meetings, they meet new friends, learn to cope with stress, and acquire competencies that will help them return to ordinary life.
  • Inpatient hospice. “Palace” housing terminally ill children called “Princesses” and “Princes”. A place for children deprived of parental care, from families unable to care for terminally ill children or provide palliative care at home.
  • Tuli Luli. A center that prepares infants abandoned by their biological parents for adoption. Toddlers grow in the company of three dedicated caregivers. They go for walks, use the room for sensory integration, and do rehabilitation exercises.
  • Cukinia (Courgette). Therapy center, which gets its name from the movie “My Life as a Courgette.” It brings together psychotherapists, speech and language therapists, child psychiatrists, physical therapists, and many other professionals who help families in crisis.

“I learned about the Gajusz Foundation during my studies in Łódź. On my way to the faculty, I met distraught parents visiting the Foundation’s office. Since I learned that I am going to be a dad, the plight of the small ones has been especially dear to me,” said Staszek.