Exploring Altruism in Challenging Times with Sewa Europe: A Report

Updated: Apr 2

Between stimulus and response there is a space. In that space is our power to choose our response. In our response lies our growth and our freedom’

Viktor Frankl


The unthinkable has happened, hostilities have broken out between Ukraine and Russia and the stakes are global. The visuals of the war are appalling, and the Europe is again at the crisis after the end of cold war. The Realpolitik always dictates the international relations. The ongoing war in Ukraine has consequences for everyone on this globe whether they are parties to this conflict directly or indirectly. There are many causalities on the battlefront and influx of refugees from Ukraine into neighboring in search of safety. While most of them in Ukraine were asked to stay to fight their opponents. The women, children and elderly people have started fleeing Ukraine as soon as the war started. The neighboring countries have opened borders to the Ukrainian nationals and many a volunteer from different parts of the world are at the forefront of facilitating the rehabilitation and organization of refugees into safe areas in the neighboring countries. Though officially not part of EU Ukrainian nationals was readily rehabilitated by the EU countries. Amid all the chaos, many foreigners have also got stuck in Ukraine. As the clouds of war was looming Embassies of different countries started issuing advisory to their citizens to leave Ukraine as soon as possible. As soon as refugees started fleeing volunteers of different organizations came together to facilitate their movement and make their stay comfortable working alongside many governmental and non governmental organizations.


The Journey of SEWA International, How it all began ?


Sewa International began as a movement in 1993 to engage the Indian Diaspora(NRI) worldwide. It encouraged these people to remain connected with Indian roots through contribution to humanitarian causes locally and in India, especially in times of natural calamities like floods, earthquakes, cyclones, tsunamis, pandemics etc, which cause large scale distress, and needs huge resources for recovery. non-profit trust, based on the Indian ethos of ‘Service before Self’ and “World is One Family”. Since its inception, Sewa International is relentlessly serving humanity in distress irrespective of caste, creed, color, religion, race or region. The movement has spread its wings worldwide to more than 25 countries now. During the on-going crisis in Ukraine many working professionals belonging to Hindu Swayam Sevak Sangh (HSS) in addition to SEWA International from all over Europe took off from their work to be volunteers assisting the refugees from Ukraine. This included providing food, clothing, essential services to make their lives easier during transit.


There are thousands of foreign

students studying in universities across Ukraine. In the present Russian – Ukraine war, these students are stranded, facing dangers of conflict, shortage of food, transport and shelter. While students have been given necessary advisories on where to go for safety and how to reach border posts with neighboring countries in the west of the country, particularly Poland, Romania and Hungary, it is Sewa International Europe in coordination with Hindu Swayam Sevak Sangh Ukriane (HSS Ukraine) that are doing yeomen service to these desperate students at the ground level.



Sewa Europe has presence in 18 cities across Ukraine. They are arranging buses/trains for transport and food for these students while on their way to border check posts where they are then taken to airports. Over the past few days, many groups of students have been successfully transported by buses with the efforts of HSS Ukraine/Sewa Europe. Students have been provided night shelter, food and transport for onward journey to the Romanian border. Over 5200 students have registered on the Sewa Europe helpline. They are provided information, guidelines and moral encouragement impacting their lives in a positive way.


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