Financial TimesFinancial Times

The kindness of strangers: Polish volunteers mount vast Ukraine relief effort

By James Shotter

13 Mar 2022 · 5 min read

Beata Borucka’s social media channels offer Polish grandmothers tips on everything from using Facebook to staying in shape. But last week, she gave her more than 300,000 followers something different: information on how to become a “temporary grandmother” to Ukrainian children forced to flee to Poland after Russia invaded their country.

The self-styled “most famous grandmother on the internet” teamed up with the creators of an app that paired elderly people stuck at home during the pandemic with others prepared to help with tasks like shopping. In a matter of days, the app was re-engineered to match Polish grandmothers with Ukrainian refugees needing extra help with their children. A week after the launch, almost 1,000 have signed up.

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