In yet another humanitarian initiative for the Indian students stuck in war-torn Ukraine, volunteers from the BAPS Swaminarayan Sanstha temple in the United Kingdom, Ireland, France, Switzerland, Italy, Germany, Austria, and Poland rushed to help with the emergency relief work on the ground. The relief efforts include establishing a mobile field kitchen in Rzeszów, Poland’s south-eastern metropolis.
PM Narendra Modi’s Call for Aid
Prime Minister Narendra Modi contacted Brahmaviharidas Swami at 12 a.m. on Sunday, February 27th, requesting BAPS Swaminarayan Sanstha’s assistance in securing the safe passage of Indian nationals across the Polish, Romanian, and Hungarian borders with Ukraine.
Thousands of Indian nationals, mostly students, have been left stranded as a result of the war. Brahmaviharidas Swami, a disaster relief veteran, participated in an emergency meeting in Delhi via video conference from Dubai. Brahmaviharidas Swami reassured Prime Minister Narendra Modi that relief was already on its way after expressing his sorrow over the refugees’ situation.
“We have already been instructed by His Holiness Mahant Swami Maharaj to mobilize BAPS volunteers from all over Europe,” said Swami.
As the situation worsens, BAPS is organizing lodging and coordinating medical aid, and it is collaborating closely with the Indian government and local partners to enhance humanitarian activities.
Former Indian Army Chief of Staff and current Indian Minister of State for Transport and Civil Aviation Vijay Kumar Singh witnessed the volunteers’ arduous work firsthand in Rzeszów. Lauding the organisation’s efforts he said, “BAPS has always been at the forefront of community service, being the first to arrive and the last to leave. The people of India are indebted to your swift, selfless and organised action.”
Shailesh Bhavsar, a lead BAPS volunteer from Paris, added, “The situation in Ukraine is desperate and tragic. The priority is to support those seeking refuge by providing them with food and shelter. We are working closely with transport networks and logistical agencies to ensure the safe and timely delivery of essential services to those in need.”
BAPS volunteers are inspired by Pramukh Swami Maharaj’s ethos, which personified the motto “In the joy of others lies our own,” and there has perhaps never been a more opportune time to embody this selfless spirit of public service by providing basic needs to those who have been severely impacted by the conflict.