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Polish couple honored by UN for offering secure housing to refugees since onset of Ukrainian conflict

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Wladyslaw and Lena Grochowski of Poland have been honored by the United Nations for their work in providing safe accommodation for refugees. The couple initially established the Lena Grochowska Foundation to support Polish immigrants returning to the country, but when the conflict in Ukraine escalated, they expanded their efforts to assist refugees entering Poland. Their Arche hotel network has provided 500,000 nights of free lodging to those in need.

The Grochowskis first began welcoming refugees in February 2022, and since then, they have expanded their operations to six cities in Poland, investing €4.1 million in housing for refugees in 2022 alone. The UNHCR has recognized their remarkable efforts by awarding them the Nansen Prize, which honors individuals who go above and beyond to assist refugees. Andreas Kirchhof of UNHCR praised the Grochowski family for not only providing aid to refugees but also empowering them to find jobs and become socially included.

Kateryna Darynska, a Ukrainian refugee now working with the foundation, shared her experience of arriving in Poland and being welcomed with warm food and support from the foundation’s staff. The Grochowskis have also extended their assistance to migrants at the Polish-Belarusian border.

The UNHCR’s recognition of the Grochowski family’s work highlights the impact they have made in helping refugees and their success in mobilizing the business community, cities, and humanitarian organizations to support their cause. Their dedication has not only provided aid but also empowered refugees to integrate into society and find opportunities for a better future.

Overall, Wladyslaw and Lena Grochowski’s efforts to provide safe accommodation for refugees in Poland have earned them international recognition and praise for their commitment to helping those in need.

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Photo credit www.euronews.com

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