Volunteer at the border: Coordination shortage, uncertainty is the worst for refugees

Slovak living in the UK flew back to Slovakia to help people cross the border from Ukraine.

People fleeing war in Ukraine at the border crossing in Vyšné Nemecké, eastern Slovakia. People fleeing war in Ukraine at the border crossing in Vyšné Nemecké, eastern Slovakia. (Source: Sme - Marko Erd)

When the war in Ukraine started, she could not just sit at home and watch the news. Renáta Papcunová, a Slovak native living with her family in the UK, felt the urge to travel to Slovakia to help people fleeing Putin's war in Ukraine.

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It was not her first experience volunteering and her husband knew that with the war raging and people on the move, she would not be able to stay at home.

“I told him: we need to talk. He replied: so when are you leaving?” Papcunová describes their conversation.

She arrived in Slovakia on March 2 and had been volunteering in eastern Slovakia for a week when she spoke with The Slovak Spectator. She is appreciative of the work the volunteers are doing, despite the lack of coordination in terms of people helping on the spot.

When Papcunová and her friend, also a native from Slovakia living in the UK, came to Košice, they spent two days at the local train station. They helped organise people arriving to the station, either pointing them to the right train or when there was no train, sending them to the compound of the nearby swimming pool to wait for the next connection.

Helping foreign students leave

She soon quickly realised that nobody was organising foreign students at the station.

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