What is happening to African students evacuating Ukraine?
Afro Culture collaborated with a number of organisations in order to support the evacuation of all African civilians from the war zone in Ukraine. As organizations and members of civil society realize the magnitude of the problem, many Africans in the diaspora and neighboring countries decide to use their own funds to help survivors who manage to cross the border. Unfortunately, the order of priority to cross the border, confirmed by the African nationals and humanitarian organisations with whom we are in direct contact, is first of all for Ukrainian children, Ukrainian women, Ukrainian men and then all the others. Blacks are at the bottom of the list and we have had sources confirming that even with a Ukrainian passport, the treatment is different and blacks (children, women and men alike) are simply not given priority.
A particularly alarming situation is that of Sumy students, a town of Ukraine nearer the Russian border, where nearly 1000 African students are stranded in the university because the city has been under siege for 10 days and under bombardment. Diplomatic assistance is lagging behind, and students and parents are increasingly frustrated by the lack of proactivity of their respective governments and are losing confidence in their ability to intervene. Andy, the president of the Ghanaian students' union in Sumy, told us, "I think the world wants to see us all dead before they understand our situation." Through the coalition, we were able to identify and report African students from the following countries: Nigeria, Ghana, Tanzania, Namibia, Zambia, South Africa and Angola. It is therefore essential that the respective governments and the African Union intervene urgently.
The city of Sumy is bombed every day. Many students, who are by now undernourished and exhausted with no or limited access to water and electricity, have decided to try to evacuate of their own accord, being bribed for passage and asked to pay exorbitant taxi fares (more than 1000 dollars per person) to go to cities where access to stations and buses is easier, in the absence of an official statement guaranteeing a humanitarian corridor. This situation must be resolved as soon as possible and our students safely escorted out of the war zone. Click below to hear their testimonies.