Paul Gavrilyuk, Ukrainian native and professor at the University of St. Thomas in Minnesota, is working to send help to his home country and its refugees through a nonprofit he founded.
From the KSTP-TV story: “We wanted to do something, we wanted to practice compassion,” Gavrilyuk said. “We founded Rebuild Ukraine because we felt we could not remain passive.”
Through his St. Paul-based nonprofit, Gavrilyuk is raising money for items desperately needed on the battlefield – and for ordinary Ukrainians impacted by the war.
“Our principal focus presently is people risking their lives in Ukraine,” he explained. “The supply chain in many areas is broken due to simply the fact that the infrastructure has been partially decimated by war.”
Among the priorities, Gavrilyuk said, are tourniquets and other medical supplies.
Gavrilyuk's nonprofit, Rebuild Ukraine, is funded mostly by donations from Minnesotans. One of the group's mission has been to provide a free education to Ukrainian children exposed to and displaced by war. Gavrilyuk says he’s met some of them personally.
From the story: “They were listless,” he said. “All they could think about, all they could talk about – especially the smaller kids – was boom, boom, the sound of bombing, the sound of shelling.”
The school now has 30 Ukrainian students, from pre-K to the 11th grade.
Gavrilyuk says there’s a full curriculum and psychological counseling for the youngsters.
“I think seared in their hearts, they will have both the memory of atrocities, which is so tragic and unfortunate,” he said. “But also the memory of profound care, love, and just active compassion that is shown to them by Minnesotans, and also the people in Lithuania.”