Hundreds of Black people, including many students studying internationally, are finding relief in Ukraine as many have been able to flee the country for safety after war broke out last month.
According to the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation, an Ottawa-led coalition says it’s been able to assist them amid reported unequal treatment of refugees at the Ukrainian border. Some videos shared on social media via the hashtag #AfricanUkraine appears to show African students being kept from boarding trains out of the Eastern European country in order to make space for Ukrainian citizens.
The shocking videos led to the founding of the Ottawa-based Global Black Coalition, which has focused on crowdfunding efforts in order to cover costs like warm clothing, food and hotel fees.
Hector Addision, co-founder of the African Canadian Association of Ottawa, says nearly 1,300 people have been helped so far, with the latest efforts involving the rescue of a few dozen students stranded in the port city of Kherson.
"It can be a very difficult thing to do. The bombs are all over the place," he said told CBC Radio’s All In A Day on Friday (March 25) about the coalition’s effort to get those remaining in Kherson to Odesa, where they can board a train to Poland. "And it's very expensive ... it's almost about $800 per head to be able to get these people out."
Some African students after successfully escaped to Paris, where members of the coalition welcomed them as their trains pulled in. Others are in Poland waiting to depart.