Ukrainian Refugee Journey is Our Journey

Image Source: Rashin Kheiriyeh from STORY BOAT

here we are

On this International Women’s Day I am thinking of all of the women walking out of Ukraine with children or with elderly parents, neighbors, or animals—their nurturing becoming an act of bravery.

I am thinking of all of the women walking out and leaving others behind, dividing their hearts.

I am thinking of those who have stayed behind to take up arms or to volunteer, because nurturing is also protecting. Nurturing is also a fierceness.

I am thinking of all of the women across the globe that have taken their loved ones’ hands and led them away from their home.

Can you imagine this? Can you imagine home being so dangerous or untenable that home becomes only a hand-in-a-hand, a bunker, or a train station floor?

If you have to imagine it and have not lived it, then you are among the lucky.

84 million people have not been that lucky and are displaced across the globe. 35 million of them are children. Ukrainians and foreign nationals in Ukraine have added a quarter of a million to this growing total in the last few weeks.

It is the smallest thing, but I offer up this reading of Story Boat by Kyo Maclear and illustrated by Rashin Kheiriyeh (Tundra Books).

In the story, the older sister in a displaced family creates an entire imaginative world for her little brother out of the few objects they brought from home. Just like the hand-in-a-hand or a bed on a bunker floor, the girl creates a nurturing “here” for her family. In doing so she pushes away the pain of what they left behind and the uncertainty of where they will arrive.

here is our journey

The journey of the world’s refugees is our journey.

One way to honor that journey is to share this read aloud [], purchase the book for yourself or others, or create a paper story boat from this activity. On that paper boat you can record all of your hopes for Ukraine and for the refugee women and children across the globe.

One way to join that journey is to give.

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