Wiecie, że nasi Goście z 🇺🇦, którzy z powodu wojny znaleźli się w 🇵🇱, jutro organizują kolejny #subotnik? Czyli sprzątanie polskich miast w czynie społecznym. Chcą w ten sposób podziękować 🇵🇱 za ich gościnność i pomoc. https://t.co/rYAI6wLXKt pic.twitter.com/ED5qcuZnUR
— Miasto Ursynów 💙💛 (@MiastoUrsynow) April 8, 2022
As the Russian invasion of Ukraine has stretched into months, Ukrainian citizens are continuing to flee the embattled country for safety. This has led to five million people settling in neighboring countries in Europe. Poland has taken in over 2.8 million refugees, with Romania, Hungary, Moldova, and Slovakia, also accepting a significant number of displaced people. As a way of showing their gratitude, Ukrainian refugees are planning meet-ups to help beautify the areas where they are settling. Often, this includes picking up litter around public spaces.
The efforts to pick up trash are not limited to one country. Independently of each other, refugees have been a driving force in these projects. Events in the municipal districts of Prague—Prague 7 and 10—are a couple of examples. In both of those instances, refugees kindly asked to help clean up these areas. “More than a hundred of them came!” Prague 10 Seantor Renata Chmelová tweeted. “They did so with such vigor that the [waste] container was not enough.” The groups included people from Ukraine as well as locals wanting to show their support.
Another event took place in Romania. A group of refugees from Odessa, Ukraine, who are being hosted in the beach resort of North Mamaia, helped clean up the shore with gloves and garbage bags they purchased themselves. Of the about 20 people who helped, they collected a few dozen bags of waste.
Refugees in Poznań, Poland, arranged a group in early April to regularly clean as a symbolic “thank you” for the country’s hospitality. Doing so follows the tradition of subotnik, or organized public cleaning that happens in Ukraine and other former Soviet countries. “We know that such cleaning once a week is probably not much,” says Lena Bondarenko, a resident for more than three years but recently brought her mom and sister to the area. “But we want to say thank you. We have been really well received in Poznań.”
It’s clear that Ukrainian refugees are making their new homes better and showing their gratitude for the hospitality; it’s inspiring to see that despite their hardships, they are taking the time to give. They aren’t alone. In general, refugees make places better and enhance communities. There is data to back this up. Turkey took in 3.6 million refugees from Syria, which had the effect of a lower crime rate in the short and long term. In the U.S., data looking at refugee resettlement from 2006 to 2015 showed that nine out of the 10 communities that took in large numbers of refugees (relative to their population) became “considerably safer” both in terms of violent crime as well as property crime.
Ukrainian refugees are helping to beautify the places where they have resettled after Russia invaded their country.
It's all throughout Europe, in places including Prague…
UKRAJINA POMÁHÁ PRAZE 10
Oslovila mne naše ukraj. sousedka z Malešic, že Ukrajinci nám chtějí poděkovat za pomoc a rádi by uklízeli P10.
Přišlo jich víc jak sto!
Pustili se do toho s takovou vervou, že kontejner nestačil.
Všichni za vše děkují a přijdou zase.#StandWithUkraine pic.twitter.com/GwEEvBX0cG
— Renata Chmelová (@SenatorkaRenata) April 10, 2022
…and in Turkey.
Ukrainian refugees in Antalya, Turkey, organised a clean up.
One of the organisers, Kate Semerich says they did it:
-to thank Turkey for the hospitality
-to remind Ukrainians they are only guests and to treat Turks with respect
-to show Ukrainians are a European nation
— Visegrád 24 (@visegrad24) April 12, 2022