By Stefan J. Bos, Chief International Correspondent Worthy News
BUDAPEST (Worthy News) – Non-white Christians trying to escape war-torn Ukraine are among refugees facing abuse by Ukrainian security forces, aid workers told Worthy News.
Students from Africa, India, and the Middle East, who had come to Ukraine for its cheaper but perceived quality university education, are among millions also trying to get out.
Yet, “scores of African students, including many Christians, have been met with abuse and blatant racism by Ukrainian border guards,” said Barnabas Fund, a Britain-based Christian charity.
It added that border quarts “prioritize white people trying to escape. Some other non-white students have experienced the same.”
There was no immediate reaction from Ukrainian authorities, but the Barnabas Fund observations reflected comments made by other sources.
German entrepreneur Moritz Heininger said Placid, a 27-year-old student from Nigeria, endured days of discrimination after trying to flee Ukraine “when the first bombs dropped.”
Placid “is staying with us,” but “what he had to endure to get to Berlin is beyond belief. As a single, black male without a Ukrainian passport, he was not allowed to cross the border. And he was not helped with food and shelter, so he had to stay outside for over four days waiting, hoping to be allowed to enter Poland,” Heininger posted on social media.
Worthy News, so a photo of the Nigerian in the German capital Berlin. “He is a very friendly guy, and he wants to stay in Germany. Luckily, the German government grants the right to stay and also to work in Germany also for non-Ukrainians who had to flee the country.”
However, even in Germany, he faces difficulties. “The amount of help offered to refugees in this humanitarian crisis in Germany and Poland is phenomenal. However, most people are not willing to accommodate single males and especially people of color. Please, please don’t discriminate based on the skin color of the person in need,” he added.
However, churches in countries bordering Ukraine are setting up bunk beds in Sunday school rooms for non-white and other refugees, Barnabas Fund suggested. They also set up other spaces to accommodate the growing numbers of refugees, Worthy News monitored.
“The United Nations warns that more than 4.5 million people could follow in the coming weeks. There are many thousands of our Christian brothers and sisters amongst them,” noted Barnabas Fund in a statement to Worthy News.
“People have been queuing for days in the freezing cold, as the majority flee to the twelve border crossings into Poland. Others opt for Romania, Hungary, Slovakia, or Moldova. Everyone is cold, hungry, and tired,” the charity added.
“But praise God for churches which look after those who do manage to cross the border. One church in Romania cares for 300 Indian refugees in a sports center,” Barnabas Fund said. It added that “Christians are providing for African and other non-white people who have faced discrimination when fleeing Ukraine.”
The group said it had urged donations which “enabled us already to send funds to churches in the neighboring countries as they care for Christian and other refugees.” The group thanked believers for their “continued prayers for Ukraine and the whole region.”
In comments shared with Worthy News, an unidentified Baptist leader in troubled Moldova thanked Christians for their “the help and special generosity related to the Ukrainian refugees that came in our Refugee Center.”
It comes amid Western concerns that Russian President Vladimir Putin may continue the Russian invasion into Moldova, which is not a member of the Western military alliance.
However, for now, refugees are still safe in Moldova, suggested the Baptist church supported by Barnabas Fund. “May God Almighty richly bless and reward you according to His great love and generosity.”
Another unidentified Moldovan pastor appealed to Barnabas Fund, saying that “In this current situation, I think we need more than finances to support some of the expenses here. We need food; we need clothing.”
The pastor noted that some refugees “are running [from their] homes without shoes, without clothing, what clothing [they had] was light clothing.” If possible, “to bring some food here, also clothes and shoes, I think that will be very important for this ministry with the Ukrainian refugees. May God bless you and once again thank you for joining us in this common effort to help,” the pastor added according to the communication shared with Worthy News.
Barnabas Fund expressed concern that “Night temperatures are well below freezing, and some countries have snow, so blankets and winter clothes are needed.”
Barnabas Fund said beyond funds, it was calling for goods such as “tinned food (that can be opened without a can opener), cup-a-soup packets, and energy bars.” Other needs include
“blankets and good quality winter clothes, particularly coats.”
The group said it already had partner churches throughout Britain that act as collection hubs. “We will then arrange for the goods to be delivered to our Swindon warehouse. Alternatively, you can volunteer to drive the goods to Swindon.”
It also urged its supporters to provide “a van/lorry that could transport the goods to the borders of Ukraine – Poland, Romania, Moldova” or to help transport the goods.
Also, “Funds are still needed, particularly for heating the church halls and other buildings now housing refugees. Our partners in the region have told us of their soaring fuel bills,” which are expected to rise as Russia threatens to cut off energy supplies.
Barnabas Fund stressed, however, that besides providing financial or practical donations prayer is crucial at a time when Christians say Europe faces a spiritual and physical battle.
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