Startup Weekend was supposed to take place last Friday in Ukraine’s capital city, Kiev. The event was postponed because the residents of Kiev and surrounding areas were in the midst of overthrowing their government.
As this before and after picture of Kiev’s Independence Square (Maidan) shows – Ukraine is going through a dramatic transformation. The level of violence, anger and sadness is known only to those surrounded by this destruction.
“What frustrates me most is, I don’t think the change in leadership will dramatically alter our situation in Ukraine,” says lead Startup Weekend organizer, Tatiana Siyanko. “I do not see a strong person in the opposition who can lead the Ukrainian people.”
Siyanko believes that Ukraine has become a playground for the political interests of Russia, the European Union, and the United States. Ukrainians have finally had enough.
Siyanko lives in Kiev with fellow organizer, Kateryna Dehtyar. Both were planning a Startup Weekend Women’s addition with the purpose of inspiring hope, change, and progress for the women of Ukraine. But last weekend’s violent protests changed that.
“It is a heart-breaking and heart-opening experience,” says Dehtyar. “My flat is full of friends who are participating in the protests. Guys who came from other cities to defend Maidan are using my bathroom, they need to be fresh.”
According to Dehtyar, while bullets rip through protester’s tents, the community is working together to supply food, clothing and medicine.
Dehtyar goes on to explain how her friends are coming to the aid of protesters. A popular radio DJ has created a central storage for medicine and a yoga teacher is offering free calming meditation for those who need it.
In Startup Weekend tradition, the community is coming together to support one another.
“Send us positive energy,” asks Dehtyar. “In this situation, love is the only way out.”
*Startup Weekend Kiev will be postponed until further notice, but it will return.
See the rest of these extraordinary images HERE.