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Notes of hope and love from around the world will be displayed hundreds of feet in the air for millions of refugees in Poland starting Friday night.
The notes are part of the project, Messages to Ukraine, which has collected thousands of messages from people around the world — showing distance and language barriers are no obstacle to human kindness.
The project is the brainchild of employees at Preply, a language learning company. Anyone can submit messages, in any language, on the Preply site. So, far, people from 115 countries have left more than 5,600 messages in 84 languages. Each note has been translated to Ukrainian and English.
“The idea was born of simply wanting to spread messages of positivity and hope,” Daniele Saccardi, a campaigns manager with Preply, told NPR. “What is most moving is the scope of messages. People from all over the world are sharing messages of strength and hope.”
The messages are set to stream across the 722 foot tall Warsaw Spire in the center of Poland’s capital.
The messages include one from someone in Suriname, nearly 6,000 miles away from Ukraine, that reads, in part, “Do not lose heart, especially during this dark moment.”
Another message from Venezuela said, “I send you all my love in these difficult times for the Ukrainian people.”
It’s been more than a month since Russia invaded Ukraine and more than 3 million people have fled the country, many of whom have gone to Poland. This is why Preply wanted to display these messages in Poland, to start, the organization said.
“It’s more about getting them in front of Ukrainians in a tough time, so they can see the solidarity from the world,” Saccardi said. “We chose Warsaw because it’s a key place where a lot of people are waiting for residency.”
Saccardi said the employees at Preply worked hard to get the site launched and the messages up and running in just two weeks.
“These processes usually take months, so it’s been a particularly difficult and emotional few weeks for us all,” he said.
It’s been made even more so by the fact that the war in Ukraine has directly impacted Saccardi’s coworkers.
“Our founders are based in Ukraine which means we have a lot of colleagues working in the Kyiv office that were temporarily displaced,” Saccardi said.
The messages from around the world have touched those colleagues, he said.
“They have found them moving,” Saccardi said.
Following Friday night’s planned showing, the messages will move to digital billboards at the Warsaw Centralna railway station, where millions of Ukrainians have first entered Poland.
“Over the next few weeks, we will look and see how else we can spread these messages to the people who might benefit from them,” Saccardi said.
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