Students starting life in Southampton after facing racism on their escape from Ukraine

  • Video report from ITV News Meridian's Derek Johnson

They spent weeks trying to leave amid the chaos.

But thanks to support from members of Southampton's African communities, and many Ukranians they met along the way, some Namibian students are beginning a new life in Southampton.

They faced mistreatment and discrimination during the hazardous journey out of Ukraine via Poland.

Community organiser Natasha Uazukuani said: "The issue mainly was to get them out of Ukraine, which is very difficult because they experienced very high levels of racism.

"They had to be the last people to board the trains and, especially for the black Namibian guys, it was very hard because men were not allowed.

"It was children and then women, which is so sad to hear that, in this world, this day and age, people are still treating people just based on their skin color".

  • Video footage of the scramble the students faced to board a train in Ukraine

Student, Wilka Ngalantji said: "It was so traumatising.

"They were just allowing Ukrainians in and pushing like Africans out, which I have a lot of experience.

"So we managed to go and find some private cars, and they were charging on so much like, they were making it $200 or $500."

Thousands of African students have been assisted by ad-hoc organisations, like Black Foreigners in Ukraine, which Janine Anthony has volunteered for. They use social media to raise thousands of pounds and arrange safe passage.

She said: "You become their eyes on the ground, you become like air traffic control, or whatever. You are a doctor. You are in charge of finances, you're transporting them, you are helping with mental health support.

"So it's important we get them back on their feet and help them on this journey because in the end they are not alone."

The website allows people to donate and help those in need. Credit: ITV News Meridian

Of the nine Namibian students who came to Southampton four are still here, many study medicine. Supported by the City's United Voices of African Associations, there are also offers of accommodation.

The The United Voices of African Associations (TUVAA) is an umbrella organisation for African in the city. People responded to their appeal for help to get African students out of Ukraine by donating new clothings, shoes, beddings and toiletries.

Mbuntu African restaurant is providing them 3 daily meals, and then TUVAA helped them register with a GP.

Natasha Uazukuani said: "I don't think there is a chance for them to go back to Ukraine knowing the crisis.

"So we are just helping with the help of the public and anybody that's involved in any university or anything that could assist them to get back into school.

"They could even be the stars of tomorrow, you never know."

  • Medical Student, Giften April says he feels he can now have a future

Medical Student, Giften April, said: "I feel relieved that I'm here. I feel that the horizons have broadened.

"I feel I have the opportunity be able to at least have a future."

Southampton Voluntary Services (SVS) ordered the students laptops to access their online courses.

There are also plans to book them on counselling.  There's also fundraising to continue providing the students basic support.

It is hoped the students tourist visas that allowed them into the UK, can be turned into student visas so they can finish their studies here.