The government has in the last three months failed to give students medical policy and a promised increment of allowances, deserting more than 1000 students based in Russia.Thus leaving them to face the savage winter on their own without financial or material help. In a bid to buy school materials for the new academic year that opened two weeks ago,students both male and female have engaged in various activities to raise money. It is well know that the Russian law does not allow foreign students to work in Russia. This has lead to some students going to extreme measures to make ends meet.
According to a 2007 survey Moscow was found to be the most expensive city in the world, to live in. The students complained that their meager allowances, even when the government remembers to send them, are hardly enough to sustain them especially in the harsh winters.
“The average cost of living in Russia is approximately $600 per month and our government only manages to give us $250 per month which is paid after every 4 months.
Every time our payments are delayed by at least a month. We tried to forge these complaints to our government but they have been giving us a blind eye and deaf ear. Officials from the Ministry of Education came some months ago only to come and comfort us and not minding our empty stomach,” said one student, who preferred to remain anonymous lest the government withdrew its sponsorship from him.
The students also lamented that they are given $10 equivalent for accommodation whilst current prices for accommodation facility’s range in price from $170 – $800 depending on the university and location. They are thus forced to lodge in dilapidated accommodation facilities.The students feel cheated as they where initially given the impression that accommodation is free.
“Is it just an adage that accommodation is free to lure the rabbit out of its hole or we are fed wrong information right from the start?” asked one of the students. The students however, emphasized that they never wished or required to live in luxurious hostels at the expense of the Government but only decent facilities. “Why not just build better universities at home than sending us here in winter colleges so that we freeze broke! Please help us guys before we become baggers in Russia. Five months no money and snow!” cried another student. The students are pleading with Government to look into the hardships they are facing. They request for the government to review the contract it has with the Russian government. “We appeal to the stakeholders to foster amendments in the contract to better serve the welfare of students.” We are also Zambian!
I would like to air my grievances over both the former and present government for continuously neglecting G.R.Z. students abroad. We have been airing our problems to them but all in vain. I feel like it takes the blocking of the Great East road for them to understand that we are really in need of their consideration. Unfortunately being in a foreign country and Russia specifically is not a joke.
The only way we can air our views is through the embassy which I feel is doing practically very little or nothing at all.
I don’t know if it was a political move or not but our friends back at UNZA and CBU have seen their allowances increased by more than 100% last year whilst for foreign student nothing has been done.
The government promised to increase our allowances and to start giving us project allowances, but since we have a new government I wonder what’s going to happen, or whether the current government knows about us studying abroad and the kind of problems we are facing. I appeal to the PF government to look into our problems and please increase our allowances. Even the poor Zimbabwe takes care of it’s students studying in Russia. The get more money than us, they get about $400. I’m saddened to say that Zambians are the poorest foreign students studying abroad but yet the most intelligent. We need our morale to be boosted. Surely how can you study when you don’t have money to buy your books on time.
To pay for services that require you to do your work on time and not forgetting the fact that Russian language is one of the most difficulty languages and you need money to make it easier to learn in Russia by accessing the internet, paying for your hostel, paying for transport, all this makes it quiet costly to live in Russia.
We have tried our level best to convince them on simple arithmetic that even someone from all walks of life can understand “The costs of commodities have increased by over 70% in the past 3 years in Russia” which am sure is not felt by the so called diplomats we try to channel our grievances because their salaries have been continuously revised over the same period.
To make it worse our government can’t even give us the same little money on time. Right now as am speaking, the government has not yet sent the money for the student to buy their medical policies and are being threatened to expelled from school because its a law of the Russian Federation for all foreign students to have medical policies before the start of an academic year which starts in September.
We would like to remind the government that we are also Zambian students under Bursaries Committee and we deserve fair treatment.
Zambian student in Russia