Sewa International already has over 4,000 students registered in its helpline, with its volunteers making concerted efforts to help evacuate another 400, according to a statement by the organization on Monday.
A US-based charitable non-profit organization here has launched a helpline to help evacuate international students stranded in war-ravaged Ukraine by arranging for transportation to the nearest border check post and making arrangements for food and other essential supplies for their journey. Sewa International already has over 4,000 students registered in its helpline, with its volunteers making concerted efforts to help evacuate another 400, according to a statement by the organization on Monday.
Explosions and gunfire were heard in embattled cities in Ukraine on Monday as Russia’s invasion met with stiff resistance. Sewa Europe, an independent partner organization, and the Hindu Swayamsevak Sangh (HSS) are currently working in ten Ukrainian cities.
Coverage: PR Newswire
As airstrikes cause extensive damage and people flee Ukraine in large numbers, Sewa International volunteers in Europe have helped more than 3,200 individuals in the past six days to cross the border to reach safety. Sewa volunteers are working with another 3,680 people who have registered for evacuation through the Sewa helpline.
Over 250 Sewa volunteers spread across many countries in Europe are coordinating relief efforts in eighteen Ukrainian cities. Working closely with Hindu Swayamsevak Sangh (HSS) volunteers, Sewa units in Ukraine, Finland, Poland, Romania, Hungary, and Denmark are fielding calls from stranded students and others seeking help and directing them to a volunteer who lives close to them for further assistance.
As a devastating humanitarian crisis unfolds in Ukraine, hundreds of thousands are fleeing the war zone seeking refuge in neighbouring countries. This includes thousands of Indian nationals, mainly students, who are desperately trying to return to their homes.
It once again brought the global Indian diaspora efforts to the fore, including student groups as well as charity organisations such as BAPS Swaminarayan Sanstha and Sewa International, who have been working round the clock to do their bit in the ongoing Russia-Ukraine conflict. This has involved the distribution of food, coordinating evacuation logistics and relief and rescue efforts across the eastern European region.
Keyur Bhatt, a lead BAPS volunteer from London, said: “The situation in Ukraine is desperate and tragic. The priority is to support those seeking refuge by providing them with food and shelter. We are working closely with transport networks and logistical agencies to ensure the safe and timely delivery of essential services to those in need.
“Our volunteers are inspired by the ethos of Pramukh Swami Maharaj, who personified the motto ‘In the joy of others lies our own’, and there has perhaps never been a more opportune moment to embody this selfless spirit of public service by providing the basic needs for those severely impacted by the conflict.”
The organisation, one of the largest and most active Hindu charities in the UK popularly known as Neasden Temple – after the iconic temple in London, has had volunteers from Britain, Ireland, France, Switzerland, Italy, Germany, Austria and Poland swiftly spring into action to support the emergency relief effort on the ground. This has included setting up a mobile field kitchen in the south-eastern Polish city of Rzeszów, which has been feeding around 1,000 hot vegetarian meals daily to refugees of all faiths and nationalities.
BAPS is also arranging accommodation and coordinating medical assistance, and says it is working closely with the Indian government as well as local partners to further expand the humanitarian efforts as the situation escalates.
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