27 March, 2024

To mark our 40 year anniversary, we wanted to hear from some of our staff and showcase a significant experience or memory they have from their time at ADRA.

Today’s story comes from Jean Tiran, Chief Financial Officer (pictured below on a project visit in Zimbabwe).

In August 2020, Jean accepted the role of Chief Financial Officer for ADRA Australia. And in 2022 he attended the ADRA Network Finance Summit in Prague. On his flight home, while putting his belongings into the overhead locker, one of the flight attendants behind him started crying unconsolably.

“I had my ADRA shirt on and she saw the logo and she just hysterically backed up, crying,” Jean says.

In a time where passengers sometimes mistreat or abuse cabin crew, the other attendants rushed over, thinking that Jean had done something to provoke her.

“They all came running to me thinking that I said something or did something to try and hurt her, because she was almost uncontrollable,” Jean says. “But what she was saying the whole time was, ‘Thank you so much for what you have done for my family. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you.’”

Jean glanced at her nametag and realised the flight attendant, Oksana, had a Ukrainian flag next to her name, indicating her country of origin.

“The other flight attendants realised that she needed to take a moment,” says Jean. So Oksana sat with Jean and told him her story.

Just months earlier, the war in Ukraine broke out and Oksana’s family lived in what would soon become the front line.

“She told me she’s one of six siblings,” Jean says. “Her brothers and dad have all been conscripted. She’s had no contact with them for months. She doesn’t know if they’re alive or not.”

Oksana’s remaining family – all her aunts, babies, grandparents, and her mum – were all staying together in the same apartment block on the front line.

“The reason why she recognised the logo is there was an ADRA van that picked them up,” Jean says. “The van came and extracted them, and as they drove off, the apartment block blew up. She expressed it as seconds away from being blown up.”

Oksana shared that ADRA didn’t just evacuate them from the front line but that they helped her family transition into Poland as displaced people.

“That was a very, very touching moment,” says Jean. “She’s like ‘Thank you so much’ and I’m just like, ‘I didn’t do that! It’s not me. But it’s the logo.’”