Twente Board, the regional cooperation of businesses, knowledge institutions and governments, is going to work to help the more than 250 students from Ukraine and Russia who, because of the war in their country, have little or no contact with their parents, family and friends. Besides fear and anxiety, this group is also threatened by financial insecurity. "As a region, we are going to help this group of young talents as much as we can," says director Victor-Jan Leurs.
Combining regional strenghts
The initiative to support the international community in Twente in these difficult times came from Saxion. "The war in Ukraine makes a big impression, on everyone", says Saxion chairman Anka Mulder. "It is a terrible and unimaginable situation. Saxion of course offers support itself, both emotionally and practically, but I think that if we combine our regional strengths we can make an even more important difference for these students. I am therefore extremely pleased with the positive response from our partners in the Twente Board!"
During an urgent meeting between the Twente Board members, the contours of the aid programme were quickly outlined. Saxion and the UT indicated that they could offer immediate help to students or employees from the Ukraine and Russia. Because the latter group is also affected by the situation. "Both the UT itself and the University Fund have set up an emergency fund for this purpose," says UT President Vinod Subramaniam. "From this fund, for example, agreements are made with housing providers if our Ukrainian and Russian students and employees get into financial distress. In addition, various meetings are organised where employees and students can tell their story and receive support where necessary."
Offer security for the longer term
The Twente Board is looking into ways of offering some security for the longer term. "Within Twente Board, we work closely with entrepreneurs, education and government in Twente. One of our main goals is to attract and retain (international) talent in our region," says Victor-Jan Leurs. "When Saxion and the UT asked us for help for these students, the Twente Board immediately responded. Of course, we are going to do everything in our power to help them. At the moment, there is already a project running in the talent programme in which foreign students are linked to companies in Twente for (additional) jobs, work placements and graduation projects. We are going to intensify this programme together with Novel-T, Saxion, UT and Ondernemend Twente. The entrepreneurs in the Twente Board have already expressed via Ondernemend Twente that they will arrange a large proportion of these additional jobs for these students. We also have to deal with students who will graduate within a few months. They cannot return to their own country at the moment. We want to find suitable solutions for them together. That is what we are going for!"