As millions of refugees from Ukraine flee the country, some Canadians are heading to border countries to offer help, including Upneet Kaur Bassi.
The young Victoria woman is heading off to Poland this Friday along with five other volunteers from across the country.
“I want to be part of the solution,” said Bassi, who’s been a longtime volunteer for global charity Khalsa Aid.
She said the devastating news in Ukraine prompted her to leave the comforts of her home and head to Warsaw.
A Khalsa Aid team is already set up there at an expo, serving food and providing other necessities to those in need.
Bassi said she will be offering a pair of extra hands for about a week.
“Nobody wants to be displaced by war and nobody wants war,” she said.
“So when I think about the dire situation in Palestine, in Yemen, and now in the Ukraine, I wonder like, ‘what can I do?’ And so this time, I did ask that question and I got an immediate answer, which is ‘go help,'” she continued.
Bassi said she is grateful for the support she’s received from family and friends who’ve encouraged her to go and help.
“Having Upneet go means a lot to us here in Victoria,” said Jindi Singh, the national director of Khalsa Aid Canada.
“It’s always sweet to have someone locally going. I’ve known Upneet since she was very young. She’s volunteered locally with us here for quite a bit and this is a great opportunity for her. It’s a great life experience and the broader community is very happy that she’s going,” he added.
Victoria Grando, the office manager of the Ukrainian Cultural Centre said the Ukrainian community is overwhelmed by and appreciative of the support they’ve received both locally and globally.
“[It’s] absolutely amazing, grateful that so many people that come offer help be it locally or overseas,” she said.
“Part of our hearts go with them, travel with them, knowing that they will be helping our people,” she continued.
While Bassi still doesn’t know what she’ll do exactly and where she’ll be assigned, she’s eager to help in any way she can.