SEVA Trust UK has launched ‘Adopt a Student’ project connecting Indian (international) students with local families from similar cultural background in effort to help those who suffered after losing their financial ability to support themselves.
Hema Chauhan, a volunteer at the SEVA Trust UK spoke at a meeting arranged over zoom on Sunday. She said, “We decided to come up with the project called ‘Adopt a Student’.
The main challenge Indian students have faced is losing their part-time job, which takes care of their food and sometimes rent. Also, we are in isolation, so they can’t meet anyone. That has affected their mental health.
“First, we will be screening the applicants to assess if they genuinely need this help. After that we will contact families who are interested to adopt the students. We will group them on the basis of cultural background trying to link the students specifically to those families who speak the same language and share the same regional and cultural roots.
“Next we will request the adopting family to provide one or two fresh hot meals every week as well as basic essentials (groceries etc) once or twice a week. If the family can’t do so, they can give £15 directly to the student for weekly expenses or donate to the SEVA Trust UK.”
Britzer Paul a PhD student who is also a part of the SEVA Trust UK volunteer team said, “Students have lost their part-time jobs due to the pandemic. Their rent and food depend on that cash-flow. Students in Bedford, Luton, Milton Keynes, Hatfield and Cranfield are usually taken care of by local community but there is often meat or food items certain students don’t eat. We made a list of food for Indian students so that people know what to give.”
Cllr Charan Sekhon from the charity emphasised that the mental health well-being of these students is important. “If we can connect them to a local family, they could be guardians. We are working on it with Universities and the Indian High Commission. This will run parallel to University grants and Government packages.”
SEVA Trust UK over last 11 months has fed more than 650 Indian students through community and member support.