Support Black Africans in Ukraine

How African students in Ukraine are leading their own rescue efforts.
"There was a need to support Black people because they weren’t getting the support or access," said organizer Patricia Daley. "There was a gap and we bridged it.”

Support Black Africans in UkraineStudent refugees at the Medyka pedestrian border crossing.Refugees from many countries and continents — from Africa, the Middle East and India — most of them students at Ukrainian universities, wait at the Medyka pedestrian border crossing in Poland on Feb. 27.Wojtek Radwanski / AFP via Getty Images

Tolulope Osho, 31, reached the Polish border the day after Russia invaded Ukraine. He was close to safety from the war-torn land. But he decided to turn around.

“I have friends,” he said of his fellow Africans in Ukraine. “If by leaving my valuables, I can save more lives, then I’m doing it. Life is more important.”

Osho, who's from Nigeria, returned to Ternopil, in western Ukraine, where he’s remained in a safe zone for the past week. He's helped shelter people in underground bunkers, driven them to borders and provided money through a fundraiser. In all, he said he and a friend have aided some 200 people. 

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He said he’s relied heavily on Instagram, where people across the country have reached out to ask for money and transportation.

“I navigate people who don’t know how to get out of the war zone,” he told NBC News, adding that he has helped people reach the Ternopil safe zone, “then to the border. I even buy them train tickets and pay for transportation.”

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