Of homelands lost and home found

Close to 4% of people worldwide live in countries other than where they were born. That represents an unprecedented scale of human movement across borders and continents – enough to make up the fourth-largest country by population if banded together. Here is one migrant story you might not have heard.

In Poland, Turkey, and the Czech Republic, Ukrainians fleeing war have organized weekly events to clean the streets and public parks in the towns that have taken them in. These acts of gratitude are based on a Ukrainian custom of giving time freely to better the community. In some cities, locals have joined in and new friendships have been formed.

“By cleaning up the garbage, we want to say ‘thank you,’” Lena Bondarenko told Gazeta Wyborcza, a newspaper in the Polish town of Poznán. “Even in this symbolic way, we want to show the whole city of Poznán that we are grateful to you. I never imagined you could be so hospitable. My voice breaks.”

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