Limelight on Singapore duo who fed Ukrainian refugees in Poland

Serving hot food in Poland to Russia-Ukraine war refugees – Photo: ST

By Asia Samachar | Singapore |

Two Singaporeans who were moved to help the refugees fleeing from the Russian invasion of Ukraine are the first picks for an award run by a local newspaper.

Priveen Suraj Santakumar and Charanjit Singh Walia are first off the block the Singaporean of the Year 2022, an annual award now in its ninth year run by The Straits Times.

Priveen, 34, was moved by the plight of those displaced by the Russia-Ukraine war that he flew to Poland to do something. There, he met Charanjit Singh Walia, who has been based in Poland for the past 25 years, and was helping to provide food to Ukrainian refugees at the Polish border.

A former nurse, Priveen now owns a cleaning business. An avid cook in his spare time, he stirred up potfuls of Singapore-style fried rice, and helped to feed thousands of refugees. He would start his day at 8am and end past midnight, partly due to a lack of volunteers, according to a ST report.

Charanjit, who is divorced, said he was at home in Warsaw in February when his Ukrainian neighbour came running to his door with news of the war.

On his first day at the border with Ukraine, he distributed more than 350 meals. His latest distribution session on July 21 saw around 700 people get fed. “I think that everyone deserves a hot meal. That’s what my religion taught me,” he told the newspaper.


YSA’s Sarabjeet Singh in the running for Singaporean of the year award (Asia Samachar, 21 Dec 2019)

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