Sikh Aid Volunteers Join Humanitarian Support of Ukrainian Refugees
One month following the February 24, 2020 invasion of Ukraine by Russian troops, Ukrainian citizens are continuing to flee shelling and bombing. Sikh Aid volunteers are among those who have joined worldwide humanitarian efforts to support more than 3.5 million refugees who have escaped to border countries. United Sikhs and Khalsa Aid International, both non-profit and non-government organizations (NGO), have support stations set up in border cities where volunteers, in the spirit of sewa, offer hot meals, distribute essential supplies, and give medical assistance. Volunteers are greatly needed and very welcome to join Sikh Aid efforts. Supplies are in constant demand. Every dollar donated is spent directly on behalf of grateful refugees.

United Sikhs
Volunteers from around the world include Sikhs from California, Chicago, Washington State in USA, England and Ireland. Heated tents temporarily house about 16,000 to 24,000 refugees every day and include supplies like blankets, clothes and toys. Supply tents offer feminine hygiene and sanitation kits, dental kits, and medical assistance. Food trucks offers hot meals and snacks for 5000 to 6500 refugees daily.

  • Ukraine (Lviv) – United Sikh volunteers also journey into western Ukraine to help offer aid at a children’s hospital, and help move patients to safe locations where medical tents are in place.
  • Poland (Medyka) – United Sikh volunteers prepare food and langar tents offering free meals to refugees and also carry hot meals across the border inside of Ukraine to take meals to border guards.

Khalsa Aid International
Teams in five border countries offer 24-hour langar to refugees. Aid is also being delivered within Ukraine including medical supplies and food.

  • Ukraine
    Khalsa Aid International has been assisting Indian students attempting to flee Ukraine and has taken calls from thousands of concerned parents. They have been helping to arrange transportation and food to fleeing refugees within Ukraine.
  • Poland (Medyka / Budomeirz)
    Khalsa Aid International has been helping to arrange transportation for refugees crossing the border and has set up 24-hour langar (free meals) at the border for people waiting to cross. Efforts are being made to secure a warehouse to be used as a receiving station for donated supplies being sent for distribution.
  • Hungary (Zahony / Lushanka / Vylok / Budapest) Slovakia (Vysne / Nemecke) Romania (Siret)
    Khalsa Aid International sent teams of volunteers to assess the need to these countries and joined cooperative efforts with other NGOs to assist with delivery and distribution of food, and to make provision for shelter and medical assistance at borders. Operations are moved as situations change and need arises.
  • Moldova (Tiraspol/Palanka/Chisinau)
    Khalsa Aid International established their first base at Tiraspol, providing refugees with food transportation and medical assistance. When this border closed the base moved to Palanca where humanitarian efforts continue in cooperation with local NGOs, and provisions are being doubled. Operations are being expanded to include Chisinau as an increasing number of refugees continue to flee Ukraine. 

Meet Sikh Aid Volunteers
The names of many volunteers will likely never be known who are helping to fund raise, prepare food, erect tents, distribute supplies, prevent human trafficking of refugee women and children, and give medical assistance tirelessly around the clock. This is an introduction to a small sampling of a select few who, having left the comfort of their homes, keep in touch through personal, or Sikh Aid teams social media like Facebook, Linked in, Twitter, and Instagram, or have been captured on camera by those that do.

United Sikhs Volunteers

  • Photos of Courageous Volunteers – Stories and faces, but very few names, can be viewed showing some of the accommodations and aid offered by European and American United Sikh teams in Medyka Poland at the border of, and within, Ukraine.
  • Harbir Kaur Bhatia  – This compassionate Sikh woman and her mother Gunwant Kaur Bhatia have left the comfort of their homes in California, USA and gone to offer assistance at the United Sikhs camp at Medyka in Poland at the Ukrainian border. Harbir Kaur has been actively fund raising through several sources both local and international. She has also been regularly posting Facebook videos to help raise awareness of the ongoing humanitarian crisis and encourages more women to volunteer in order to serve the needs of women refugees.
  • Gurvinder Singh – Not everyone can travel, this volunteer from New York, USA has organized fundraising to benefit Ukrainian refugees with donations going to United Sikhs, and tells of a refugee child, one of many, celebrating a birthday in the safety of a United Sikhs relief camp.

Khalsa Aid International and USA team Videos on Linked in:

  • Rajpal Singh – This Singh from the UK is at a Khalsa Aid International border camp in Poland. His Linked in video gives a glimpse of the sheer magnitude of the humanitarian crisis taking place in a single location.
  • Omar Singh – One of four Khalsa Aid USA volunteers from America helping with 24-hour langar sewa (free meals prepared by volunteers). His team has also been helping to move supplies and langar within Ukraine to Lviv.
  • Johnny Kalsi FLCoM – This London UK Sikh, artistic director of the Dhol Foundation (live drumming for all occasions}, is a Khalsa Aid International volunteer helping to prepare and distribute free meals to refugees at the Medyka border in Poland. He appears in a news video clip along with teammates, stirring tea over a gas burner in a food tent while expressing his disbelief and dismay over the war instigated humanitarian crisis unfolding at the Poland border.
  • Tony Singh Kale – This video shows a long line of buses, and other forms of transportation parked nearby the food tent. A tall gas heater along with people bundled in jackets and various types of headgear gives a chilling glimpse of the winter temperatures both refugees and volunteers are having to endure.
  • Amandeep – This short, but sweet, video clip shows the compassion of a team member offering sweets to a refugee child alongside the child’s mother. 
  • Chamkor Singh – This video filmed in Tiraspol while preparing chutney and pakora illustrates some of the equipment used during preparation and transportation of hot meals and snacks.

Call to Action
In perilous times when so many around the world are affected, global support is required. The displacement of an entire country is staggering and creates a ripple effect felt by ordinary people everywhere. When it feels overwhelming, start small. Hitting a like button or sharing a message can reach people who are able to contribute if you cannot. A single dollar can purchase two energy bars. Two dollars supplies a dental kit, or a meal for a hungry refugee. Pooling resources and acting together makes an enormous difference to those on the receiving end. It doesn’t matter where you contribute as long as you do contribute to an authentic organization. However, unlike many other relief agencies 100% of your donation made to Sikh Aid goes directly to caring for grateful recipients. 

Photo credit: Khalsa Aid International

Sukhmandir Kaur Khalsa

Sukhmandir Kaur Khalsa

Sukhmandir has written hundreds of articles on topics related to Sikhism and has co-written and and edited several books on the Gurmat teachings and Naam Simran meditation. 

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