Home / News / India /  Volunteers help Indians in Ukraine march to freedom
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MUMBAI : Vijay Venugopal, a senior tech consultant based in China, has been working round the clock to track Indian students stuck in Ukraine and help them move to safer places.

“We have helped evacuate more than 700 people from Dnipro city, giving them all possible help, including connecting them to other coordinators, getting them taxi driver contacts and keeping them updated with embassy advisories," Venugopal, who is part of a volunteer group of Reaction Team Inc., a US based non-profit organization, told Mint.

Since the beginning of the conflict in Ukraine, a host of volunteers such as Venugopal have joined the Indian government’s efforts to rescue Indian nationals stuck in various parts of Ukraine, providing them assistance.

The Art of Living Foundation has deployed nearly 100 volunteers to help evacuate people from different locations such as Lviv, Poltava, and Kiev.

“Volunteers are going in cars and rescuing students from Sumy and Kharkiv. The access is very poor. Still they are doing their best. We have saved nearly 1,000 students so far. They are even going to railway stations and speaking to the authorities to allow Indian students to board trains. All Art of Living centres are accommodating people. Some are even hosted by volunteers in their houses. We are helping all people, but the focus is more on students at present," said Swami Jyotirmaya, director, Art of Living Europe.

Several higher education consultants, who had helped students get admission in different medical colleges in Ukraine, have also joined the rescue efforts.

“One of the consultants went to Poltava and started distributing food. We have also been able to arrange buses for the students," said Ravi Kumar Koul, a Delhi-based consultant who is also coordinating with his students in Ukraine.

Emergency management practitioners such as N. Vinod Chandra Menon are also in touch with students, sharing information on how to survive in a war zone. Menon is a founder member of the National Disaster Management Authority.

“Students and parents had several questions and we responded to them on the best way to survive in a war zone such as this. Should they take the risk and agree to pay money to those who promise to ferry them to safe zones and border check posts to cross into Poland, Slovakia, Romania or Hungary? What are the precautions one should take when untrained civilians have taken up arms in self defence? When is it safe to travel? Who are the points of contact? You cannot take risks in a war zone. You are very vulnerable and you do not know the terrain or the language beyond details of where to reach. They needed emotional and psychological support and guidance to boost their morale," Menon said.

The government has been able to evacuate more than 10,000 students from Ukraine over the past two weeks, the Indian embassy in Ukraine said on Sunday. All Indians have been evacuated from Ukraine, barring Kharkhiv and Sumy, it said.

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