Muscat – When patriotism and the sense of humanity are strong, help transcends borders and the impossible becomes possible. As uncertainty, fear and anxiety grew among Indian students stranded in Ukraine following its invasion by Russia, the World Malayalee Federation’s branches in Ukraine, Poland, Romania, Moldova, Hungary, Slovakia and Oman came to their rescue.
Members of World Malayalee Federation (WMF) in Poland teamed up to assist Indian students stuck in the middle of the war. The effort was coordinated in Oman by Muscat resident Dr J Retnakumar, global president of the federation, and an international team mostly based in Europe.
“As global president of WMF, I have been on my toes the last few days coordinating the logistics and safe movement of several Indian students. We formed a WMF Ukraine help desk. Our national councils in Ukraine, Poland, Romania, Moldova, Hungary and Slovakia coordinated rescue operations of the Indian students in Ukraine, liaising with NORKA and Indian government officials,” Dr Retnakumar said.
NORKA, or Department of Non-Resident Keralite’s Affairs, is a Government of Kerala entity that looks into grievances of non-resident people of the southern Indian state both in India and abroad.
“WMF members worked around the clock to get the students to safety and provide them food and shelter. Federation members were in touch with various authorities to facilitate the operation,” Dr Retnakumar said.
Harikrishnan Namboothiri, CEO of NORKA, supported the WMF Ukraine help desk by updating the federation members on the latest advisories issued by the Indian government.
Chandu Nallur, from WMF Poland, was among the first who swung into action and arrived at the Ukraine-Poland border to help the students. “We moved about 1,500 students from Ukraine to Poland. They then safely boarded Air India flights back to home,” Nallur informed Muscat Daily.
Headquartered in Austria with presence in 162 countries across the world, WMF was founded by Dr Prince Pallikunnel, a resident of Austria, in 2016.