Indian-origin volunteers in Ukraine help out refugees

In a move to help out the refugees from Ukraine,  an international cadre of volunteers are working round the clock to help those who are in Poland and a handful of them are Indian-origin people who are focusing on providing vegetarian food for those needed most.

A volunteer Yogi Trivedi was one among them who is based in Rzeszow in Poland who is helping out refugees in welcoming them at the border and guiding them to settle in camps. He is one of those who can cook vegetarian food, which provides great relief for many.

The Indian-origin volunteers under the Bochasanwasi Akshar Purushottam Swaminarayan Sanstha (BAPS) are about 25 who are drawn from nearby European nations such as Ireland, France, Switzerland, Italy, Germany, Austria and Poland. In addition, some of them have reached from the US and UK as well.

They have helped the Indian students initially who are being evacuated by the Indian government and now they are serving those who need any help. So far, more than2.5 million Ukrain refugees are there in neighbouring countries.

The team wearing yellow vests with a sketch of the Akshardham temple in Gujarat are helping refugees of all nationalities at three border points, Budomierz, Korczowa and Medyka now.

Trivedi, a teacher at Columbia University’s Graduate School of Journalism, among the five from the US joined them via the BAPS Instagram page and they are providing the refugees with essentials like warm clothes, gloves, sanitary supplies and hot meals.

“If you’ve been travelling for seven to nine days, from across the country, you’ve been walking. Often the lines at the crossings can lead back to two to four kilometres at different checkpoints and they can take up several hours to cross,” he said explaining the trauma these refugees face while fleeing Ukraine.

“When you come over to the Polish side, if there’s someone there to smile, give you a helping hand, carry your luggage, help you carry your kids, help you get settled, even if it’s for the first five, seven minutes, you could see the immense sort of stress and trauma melting away from their face,” he noted.

Ukrainian refugees show resilience and humility. “Despite all the difficulties they had, they were willing to keep on going and do it all for their children’s sake, and for their country’s sake,” he said.

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