As War Rages On In Ukraine, Sewa International Helps Indian Students Cross Border And Escape

by Swarajya Staff - Mar 4, 2022 04:18 PM +05:30 IST
As War Rages On In Ukraine, Sewa International Helps Indian Students Cross Border And EscapeSewa International

As the Russian assault on Ukraine continues many Indian students studying in the country had to face the unexpected challenge of getting themselves out safely from the war-torn country.

A lot of these students were helped by the volunteers of Sewa International who have been working closely with volunteers of Hindu Swayamsevak Sangh (HSS).

Over the past few days, volunteers of Sewa International have helped around 3,200 students to cross the border and escape the war-torn country.

Sewa's units in Poland, Finland, Ukraine, Romania, Hungary and Denmark are communicating with stranded students and connecting them with a volunteer who lives nearby.

A Sewa volunteer explained that the "situation on the ground is as challenging as it can get. Sewa and HSS volunteers are taking calls from people in distress and working 24 x 7 to help them evacuate. More than 35 Sewa volunteers are working on the ground in Ukraine. We are seeing an increased call volume as the war intensifies.”

Sewa volunteers are arranging bus, train and other modes of transport so that Indian students can cross the western border, away from harm's way.

They are ensuring students have food to eat and a shelter where they can stay by working with local hotel owners.

Heramb Kulkarni, a Sewa volunteer from Finland says that "After a student from India was killed in shelling in Kharkiv, the second largest city in Ukraine and an epicenter of the current war, there has been a heightened fear among students. Due to the danger posed by the war to civilian lives in the city, helping people leave Kharkiv has been our top priority. In nearly 80 percent of the situations, we have been able to help the caller when they call the Sewa help number for the first time".

According to the UN more than a million people have fled the war-torn nation. Students stuck there have met multiple challenges, the most harrowing of which is noncooperation from the local Ukrainian officials, being stopped from crossing the border. In some cases incidents as extreme as assault have been reported as well.

Students also faced uncertainty about food and money as most of their cards have stopped working.

Sewa Europe has presence in around 18 Ukrainian cities.

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