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Ukraine War Leaves African Students Stuck

FILE - African students who fled the war in Ukraine in temporary accomodations in a sports hall in Przemysl, eastern Poland, Feb. 28, 2022.

African students that fled the war in Ukraine and sought refuge in other European nations report being left in limbo and unable to continue their studies.

Several African students that sought education in Ukraine report that the Feb 24 invasion by Russian forces drastically affected their lives.

African students add that they had turned to the East European nation for quality education at low costs and that when the war broke out, they sought refuge in neighboring nations with hopes of receiving assistance.

Korrine, a 27-year-old student who is a naturalized British with Zimbabwean roots that studied medicine in the city of Dnipro in eastern Ukraine, said she fled the war alongside several peers from southern Africa.

“When it actually started kicking off, I realized we were on our own,” said Korrine.

The 27-year-old student has since returned to England where reports facing challenges continuing her education and added that her former classmates are now “in a terrible situation.”

“Most of them are homeless, they’ve just been trying to go from place to place,” she said.

The medical student has taken it upon herself to contact British universities, engage the United Nations as a “youth champion” and meet with Ukrainian authorities, with hopes of aiding her former classmates, however she reported that “it’s just been a lot of knocking on doors and having them slammed in your face.”

“We experienced the same thing (as Ukrainians). We were living in the same country. Why is it that there’s no empathy?” she said, adding, “a lot of students can’t go back to their own countries.”

Catherine Gladwell, the chief executive of the charity Refugee Education UK said Ukraine housed over 76,000 international students before the war broke out and that Britain has provided the East Europeans with education benefits but did not extend that to other international students.

“There were ‘significant’ numbers of Nigerian and Moroccan students, as well as those from Ghana, Zimbabwe, and India,” said Gladwell.

Nalin Thakkar, the vice president for social responsibility at the University of Manchester said they offer scholarships to “any student, anywhere, from any conflict zone,” and added, “we only had one applicant (from nearly 1,000) who was a student from Ukraine but from elsewhere.”