When photojournalist Francesco Malavolta snapped a photo of strollers lined up at a train station in Poland on March 3, he did not realize the moment might go viral as a powerful symbol of solidarity with refugees.
“I was working to document the arrival of the many refugees in the station,” Malavolta told TODAY Parents.
She was happy to have left her stroller and some clothes … out of solidarity with the incoming people from Ukraine."
PHOTOGRAPHER Francesco Malavolta
In Malavolta’s photo, seven strollers of various sizes are lined up on a train platform at the border crossing between Ukraine and Przemysl, Poland. Some were filled with supplies for mothers and children.
Malavolta said he spoke to one of the mothers who left a stroller at the train station.
“I spoke to one of them saying she was happy to have left her stroller and some clothes at the nearby school out of solidarity with the incoming people from Ukraine,” Malavolta told TODAY.
The powerful image spread quickly on social media.
“After all the terrible things we’ve been seeing this just broke me,” one Twitter user wrote.
Another replied, “Humans can be so good, can’t they?”
Malavolta said the strollers were brought by Polish mothers and associations for women arriving from Ukraine with babies.
“The arriving women had left their strollers in Ukraine to speed up the journey and because many of (the women) were traveling without husbands because they remained fighting,” he said.
Related: The women of Ukraine on caregiving through a war
Malavolta said what struck him about the scene was the absence of people.
“While two meters away there were miles of people. It seemed surreal,” he said. “I thought of them both … about the solidarity of those who brought the strollers and the dramatic stories of mothers fleeing the war.”
Malavolta shared that he has been documenting the refugee crisis around the borders of Poland, Slovakia and Hungary for 10 days.
“There is a strong feeling of solidarity,” he said. “There should always be and for everyone, regardless of the starting points of the most fragile.”
Related: Verified charities to help the people of Ukraine
Kait Hanson is a contributing writer for TODAY.com. A graduate of Penn State University, she began her career in sports and happily wakes up at 6 a.m. for games thanks to the time change at her home in Hawaii. An island transplant originally from the Northeast, she has called Oahu home for nearly 10 years with her husband and two chocolate Labs. Follow her on Instagram.
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