Indians in forefront in helping fleeing Ukrainian refugees in Poland
Warsaw, March 16
Along with scores of Polish residents who are in the forefront of offering assistance to the refugees fleeing war torn Ukraine, Indians living in Poland and elsewhere, too are contributing in a big way in the relief work launched by the Polish government for the refugees from Ukraine.
Be it, offering food, shelter or hands on help, the Indians living here are doing their bit to bolster the effort. A Gujarati restaurateur Arun Barot has set up a food counter with the help of the Polish government at the city-centre railway station in Warsaw. He came to Poland 17-years ago and now runs an Indian restaurant in Warsaw. Along with his team of workers, he is busy offering Indian food to the teeming refugees. “The people in Poland have opened their homes and their hearts to the Ukrainians and I too thought of lending a helping hand. Since the past few days, we have set up a food counter here, where regular Indian fare like rice, lentil soup and vegetables is being served. We also have other stuff like fruits, food for children and medicines that are in great demand and can be carried easily,” he said.
Though, Indian food is not uncommon and makes it’s presence felt in metropolitan towns of Poland, strangely it is being lapped up by the refugees from Ukraine as well. “For some Ukrainians who have sampled Indian food, it did not come as a surprise. For others, our lentil soup and rice seemed to have gone down well,” emphasized Arun.
On the other hand, a few voluntary organizations that had offered assistance to the Indian students while they were awaiting flights to carry them back home to India, decided to stay put and shifted their focus towards helping the Ukrainian people at the Poland-Ukraine border.
Hardiyal Singh of voluntary organization, United Sikhs along with his volunteers too has a visible presence at the various centers set up for the refugees. They are providing, blankets, and food through their efficiently run langars, “Our food truck proving handy and is catering to the kitchen langar that we have set here,” informed Singh.
So many Indian origin volunteers from Poland,United Kingdom and other European countries are also helping in this massive relief work.
“It is extremely satisfying to see the relief and happiness on their faces after we serve them hot soups and tea. These people have traveled several kilometers braving bullets and rough weather conditions,” said Nakul.
Several Indian students enrolled at the Warsaw based University too are chipping in. “Whenever I find time, I chip in at the food counters and even volunteer at the make-shift tents. It is all about offering assistance in the time of need,” said Rajat Patel, a student.
For most of the volunteers, it has been an eye-opening experience to see people streaming in with barest of their belongings, “They are fatigued and tired, most of them have left a settled life, yet they are happy to be safe and alive. It is a lesson for all of us, who take everything for granted,” said Simran Kaur, a volunteer from United Kingdom.
(Neena Sharma is a senior journalist based in Poland.)