When others wondered what they could do to help refugees from the war in the Ukraine, recent Chelsea resident Shahana Bhaduri used her own money to travel to the Polish-Ukrainian border to lend a hand.
On Monday night, the City Council presented Bhaduri with a resolution celebrating her efforts helping Ukrainian refugees, as well as a host of other local and national volunteer efforts.
“We saw what was going on on our TVs in the Ukraine and were horrified by it,” said Council President Roy Avellaneda, who introduced the motion. “(Bhaduri) is a friend of mine, and we’re friends on Facebook, and I saw her jump on a plane and go to the front lines of the crisis and go to Poland. She handed out oranges, bananas, umbrellas, whatever these refugees from the Ukraine needed as they were crossing and fleeing their homeland.”
Avellaneda said Bhaduri’s selfless and self-funded act should come as no surprise to anyone who knows her.
“During the pandemic, she was right there with some of the volunteers at St. Luke’s during the food pantry,” said Avellaneda. “If you get to know her and spoke to her about her past, she was there in 2015 in Greece helping the refugees who were coming over from Syria. It was the same situation and she just self funded and went out to go.”
The council resolution also highlights Bhaduri’s financial donations to nonprofits in Chelsea and her help in raising donations for a wide range of organizations, including Partners in Health Programs, which provides technical and financial assistance, medical supplies, and administrative support to partner programs in Haiti, Peru, Russia, Rwanda, Lesotho, Malawi, Mexico, Guatemala, Kazakhstan, the Dominican Republic, and Boston.
“Aside from that, anyone who knows her, her spirit is just so fun to be around, so positive, so I wanted to say thank you for what (she’s) done,” said Avellaneda.
Councilor-At-Large Damali Vidot, who said she just met Bhaduri before Monday’s meeting, praised her for her selflessness.
“In a world where we’re seeing so much plight and violence and hate, it’s so beautiful to know that people like you exist and I just want to thank you for what you do,” Vidot said.
District 4 Councilor Enio Lopez said he met Bhaduri last year and thanked her for being a volunteer and a leader not just in Chelsea but also overseas.
Several councilors also praised Bhaduri’s parents, who were in attendance at City Hall along with Bhaduri and several other family members and friends.
The council also read a resolution on Monday night celebrating the 100th birthday of Chelsea resident Katherine Stec.