#SidnetDonations: Wojtek for PHP Foundation and Magda Rejman (The Children’s Future Foundation beneficiary)

At Sidnet, we help on a daily basis, not only on special occasions. In December, we carry on with this practice and support the projects chosen by Wojtek Wąsik. Wojtek has been a member of our team for over 4 years now as a Senior Full‑Stack Developer and is currently working on a project for our British e‑commerce client, THG. It is not the first time that Wojtek takes the opportunity to select the projects to support as part of the #SidnetDonations initiative. And again, his choice was very personal.

Take a look at open‑source and charity projects that will receive financial support this month thanks to Wojtek’s choices.

PHP Foundation

The core mission of the newly established foundation is to modernize one of the most popular programming languages—PHP—which is the base for over 78% of all websites.

Why did Wojtek decide to endow this particular project? “It is the very first programming language I have learned. It was over 18 years ago, and I have been using it ever since. I am glad that PHP has a chance to be given a new life”, explains our developer.

The establishment of the PHP foundation was rushed by the “bus factor”. After 10 years of developing the language core, Nikita Popov—a key PHP developer, has decided to focus on a different project, the development of the LLVM compiler.  

In the first two years of its operation, the Foundation aims to create regular job positions for the language core developers and provide them with competitive pay financed by donations.

Magda Rejman (The Children’s Future Foundation beneficiary)

The charity chosen by Wojciech to receive our financial aid is fundraising for the treatment of 13‑year‑old Magda Rejman, who is struggling with the health consequences of type C lymphoblastic leukemia.

The decision to support the girl is very personal to Wojtek. “Magda is my cousin’s daughter”, explains our developer.

Currently, the disease is in remission. Magda is slowly recovering from the illness, but she still requires constant medical care, including immunity‑supporting drugs and costly rehabilitation. In order to arrange the necessary help and funds, Magda joined The Children’s Future Foundation a few years ago and still remains under its care. At the moment, the Foundation helps 450 children in need of constant medical assistance.

If you wonder how you can support the Foundation, here’s what you can do:

  • Join the volunteers coordinating the fundraisers.
  • Make a donation.
  • Run your own fundraiser.
  • Take part in activities held by the Foundation, such as collecting plastic bottle caps.
  • Talk with your employers about how they can support the Foundation.
  • Take part in run races organized by a Foundation’s charity running team.

#SidnetDonations: Łukasz for Pi‑hole and the Kundelek Animal Shelter

If not for the fact that the majority of the Sidnet team prefer remote work, we could consider opening a new branch in Rzeszów. A total of 15% of our dispersed team live there. The trend began with Łukasz Leszczyński, who joined us in 2019 as a Perl Developer, and is currently fulfilling himself by programming in Go in a project for THG, one of our long‑term clients.

Check what open‑source and charity projects will receive financial aid thanks to Łukasz’s choices.

Pihole

An open‑source app for blocking online ads and web trackers at the network level. Designed for Raspberry Pi, Ubuntu, Debian, Fedora, and CentOS.

“Corporations are carefully polishing their content delivery algorithms and matching ads to have an increasing influence on our choices. Since I’ve been using Pi‑hole, I can take a break from ads. The application works as a home DNS serverit filters the traffic and blocks it when an attempt is made to deliver ad content,” says Łukasz.

Why will every Linux geek like Pi‑hole?

  • Network protection in one installation. There is no need to install plugins in every browser and device.
  • Blocking ads outside the browser. Pi‑hole blocks ad content inside any application, e.g. on a smartphone or Smart TV.
  • Improved network performance. Ads are blocked even before they are downloaded.

Kundelek Animal Shelter

The shelter in Rzeszów takes care of more than 150 homeless cats and dogs. Since 2005 the shelter has been helping lost and abandoned animals, as well as those taken away from irresponsible owners. The shelter employees accompany the pets and new owners through the adoption process. They provide free animal health checks in a partner clinic.

In addition to donations, the shelter accepts help measured in cuddles. It organizes such campaigns as “An hour with a homeless dog” and “Cat caress”.

“Some time ago my girlfriend asked if we could walk a dog from a shelter. I was very skeptical, afraid to face suffering and lonely animals. Fortunately, it turned out that the dogs live in good conditions thanks to the shelter staff and people of good will,” explains our programmer.

#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.