April 07, 2022

A Story Of Hope From Ukraine

Laurence Baynham
Chief Executive Officer & Managing Director (FAICD)
With many disasters taking place in Australia and overseas in recent weeks, our natural instinct is to want to assist those in need. Often though, we feel helpless in these situations, and it’s hard to know how we can help make a difference.

Today, I’d like to share a story about how two of our Data#3 team members from two different states, who didn’t know each other, took direct action to help a family in Ukraine. During a Teams meeting a simple question of “How are you?” led to them making a life changing difference to a family thousands of miles away.

One of the team members is Ukrainian, and came to Australia as a refugee as a young child. A cousin, with a husband and two young children (aged 5 1/2 and 18 months old) was still based in Kyiv. Our other team member is of Polish descent and has a best friend that resides in Warsaw, Poland.

“The real heroes are those in the Ukraine and Poland. My contribution was small, some phone calls to my connections. It’s those that have opened their homes to families that are traumatised, and putting everything on the line for those they have never met, that deserve the praise. This is a beautiful thing that has arisen from a terrible situation. My advice would be to think out of the box. Just because you are far away, it doesn’t mean that you can’t make a meaningful difference.”

In their team meeting, the two got talking about the plight of the Ukrainian family given the current situation. Like millions of Ukrainians, they were forced to make a decision about whether they would stay or leave. As the situation deteriorated they made the difficult decision to leave their country, knowing that the husband is forbidden to leave and would have to remain in Ukraine due to mandatory conscription. The family’s plan was to cross the border with only a few possessions in a back pack, not knowing where to go or how they would survive.

Following many phone calls, our two Data#3 team members were able to introduce the Ukrainian family to the Polish family. The Polish family very kindly offered to open their home to these strangers, to provide safety, food, clothing, no questions asked, with nothing expected in return for as long as they needed.

“I’ve never worked for a company like this before, they are my family, and my family have become their family. This is lifechanging. It’s rare to find a company that practice what they preach. I’m just so very grateful and lucky.”

I am pleased, and relieved, to advise that the Ukrainian family have now safely arrived in Warsaw. This was after a harrowing 24 hour bus trip, another 5.5 hours anxiously waiting at the border, all while avoiding the missile attack in nearby Lviv that killed 35 people which was only 20 km away from the Polish border. Getting to Warsaw is step one, and now the family will need to work out what to do next in a country that has taken in over 2 million refugees in the last couple of weeks.

I only found out this situation by chance, that two of our staff members were helping each other. I then asked to meet with these two inspiring and amazing people to hear first-hand their stories.

I believe this is a remarkable story of hope, kindness, generosity and courage. These are inspirational team members who have made an incredible difference to a family in need on the other side of the world. I am also pleased to say that Data#3 has provided direct assistance to this family who will be building a new life where the children’s lives are no longer in danger.

I thought this was the perfect story to share as a way to end our recognition of Harmony Week. The continuing message of Harmony Week is ‘Everyone Belongs’ and this story shows first-hand inclusiveness, respect and a sense of belonging for all humans, regardless of cultural and linguistic background. This is one recent and extraordinary example of how our people live and work with HEART every day.