LOUDONVILLE, N.Y. (NEWS10) –Siena College partnered with Ukraine Friends, a non-profit organization supporting the country after the Russian invasion to bring laptops to Ukrainian students. The college has a goal to donate 1,000 laptops.
Ukraine Friends initially delivered donated ambulances to the front lines of the war, with New York’s DEC Commissioner taking a leave of absence to help. They have broadened their mission as the war continued and among the humanitarian aid now provided is support for education.
Associate Professor of Psychology, Dmitry Burshteyn, looks to give back from one educator to another. “There is a tremendous need for laptop computers because about 800,000 Ukrainian children are in remote education.”
The college is looking for laptops no older than four years old. Professor Burshteyn says this is due to battery life and infrequent opportunities to charge them in Ukraine. Each one will come with software to allow students to be active in school and also with friends and family.
“With this country torn apart by the conflict, there is very little they can do sometimes to connect with their friends. Ukraine Friends puts a sticker on the laptops with all the mental health resources available to children,” explained Burshteyn.
These issues resonated with the student body. Students on campus compared the need for technology in Ukraine to when COVID-19 shut down schools here. “There were moments, for example, when my laptop broke. There was a lot of struggles with catching up and learning,” said Senior, Bilal Hersi.
These laptops will be sent to Ukraine when gathered as soon as possible. Donors looking to drop off laptops up to four years old can head to Siena’s Public Safety office, open 24/7 and can be reached at (518) 783-2300. Questions can be answered by Professors Burshteyn and Jami Cotler at firstname.lastname@example.org and email@example.com.