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SEWA Foundation Working to Help Students Stuck in Ukraine

As the Indian government struggles to evacuate thousands of Indian students stuck in Ukraine, help is pouring in from all sectors. One such organization working to facilitate students in their escape from Ukraine is the SEWA foundation which is carrying out its operations completely online through a WhatsApp group that has almost 200 volunteers as of now.


As the news of war between Ukraine and Russia broke out, most of us wanted to help but felt powerless. Utilizing the privilege of sitting in a safe country and having time on my hand, I decided to register myself as a volunteer. Once inducted, I was introduced to a well-oiled machine working completely remotely, with elaborate excel sheets containing data of thousands of Indian students stuck in Ukraine, and a constant flow of verified resources of help.


The hundreds of volunteers from all over the world, in constant touch over WhatsApp, start their day by trying to establish contact with students in Ukraine, getting to know their immediate requirements, their location, sorting through a barrage of information available online through media and the government, guiding them on the next steps to take, and then updating the excel sheets. The efforts of the volunteers have also ensured that the students and parents under stress for days feel reassured that all efforts are being made to bring them back home safely.


A look at the excel sheet will show you tons of messages of distress from students and parents. Surprisingly, not all of them are from India. A quick scroll through the list will also show you messages from Ukrainian people looking to find safe routes of evacuation. Some of the requests for assistance from students are about the depleting food and water reserves but the most common remains inquiries about the safest borders to cross over to. The lack of clear and consistent information from the government of India, initially, was a major contributor to causing panic amongst students who felt abandoned in a war-torn country. However, organizations like SEWA have been actively working towards streamlining the influx of information.


Heramb Kulkarni and Senthil ji along with their volunteers have been working so proactively in assisting students stuck in Ukraine and have carried out such extensive research that despite never having visited the country themselves they could tell you which bus to take from where in order to get to the closest point of safety.


This is, however, not the first time team SEWA has been actively engaged in helping people on the ground. Their work during the second wave of the pandemic in India also facilitated the distribution of resources and ensured people got the correct information. SEWA foundation’s work is truly exemplary in establishing that geographical constraints can be effectively overcome through the internet and that those who wish to help will always find a way.


If you would like to help the SEWA Foundation in its work, you can head over to their website and register yourself as a volunteer. Every small bit counts!


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