People board an evacuation train at Kyiv central train station on February 28, 2022. Source: Dimitar Dilkoff/AFP

Help is trickling in for international students who have been studying in Ukraine and were stranded following Russia’s invasion.

Sewa International in the US has started a helpline to assist stranded international students, arranging transportation to the nearest border post, and providing food and shelter during their journey. 

According to the Hindu faith-based charitable non-profit, over 4,000 students have already registered on Sewa International’s helpline and the Sewa volunteers are in touch with another 400 people to help them evacuate. 

Sewa Europe and the Hindu Swayamsevak Sangh (HSS) arealso working on the ground in 10 Ukrainian cities to assist those affected by the war. 

“On Feb. 26, 2022, Sewa Europe helped a group of 150 students to travel from Vinnitsa to Chernovtsy by bus. At Chernovtsy Sewa provided them shelter, food, and transport for their onward journey to the Romanian border,” said the non-profit in a press release. 

Concerns escalate for international students studying in Ukraine

Concern is mounting for students studying in Ukraine following escalating tensions in the Russia-Ukraine war. According to a report in the Deccan Herald published yesterday, a group of 21 Indian students of Chernivtsi National University are still stranded in the city. reported that Kyiv’s mayor issued a “shoot on sight” order yesterday to the Ukrainian armed forces, asking his army to gun down anyone plundering local shops and businesses, including Russian soldiers collecting food and fuel.

According to official estimates, some 18,000 Indian students are studying in Ukraine. Those stranded are facing a shortage of food and require transport and shelter. 

The Indian Embassy in Kyiv has advised students on how to reach Poland, Romania, or Hungary from where they can board Air India flights specially operated by the Indian Government to reach India. The Nigerian embassy has also advised its citizens to leave Ukraine via these three countries.

studying in ukraine

A woman kiss a dog as she holds a placard reading “Stop Putin” during a protest against Russia’s invasion of Ukraine on La Marina square in Malaga, Spain on Feb. 28, 2022. Source: Jorge Guerrero/AFP

Calls for donations and support

Sewa International has released 10,000 US dollars for the Ukrainian relief efforts and is also running a Facebook fundraising campaign to help people who are threatened by the humanitarian crisis.

“The messages and videos we are getting from the war zone show the fear, anxiety, and danger people are facing as they run to safety. As the global Sewa network rises to face this challenge, I request people to support Sewa International in this rescue effort,” said Sewa International US president Arun Kankani.

“The war between Russia and Ukraine has affected all people in the region and caused serious distress in a world that is still struggling to recover from the COVID-19 pandemic. Sewa International in the US, and HSS volunteers in Europe, the US and India are receiving hundreds of messages seeking help from people who are stuck in the war zone.”

Those seeking to register for assistance can click here. More details related to Sewa’s Ukraine relief efforts can be found here.