22 February 2024

From a world away, Canberra man set to race to help his native Ukraine

| Sally Hopman
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Man and woman holding two kids at Jervis Bay

Although he is now settled in the Canberra region with his family, Iaroslav Pereiaslovets continues to work hard to support those in his war-torn country Ukraine. Photo: Supplied.

Iaroslav Pereiaslovets knows he is a lucky man.

Leaving his war-torn Ukraine in 2016, he arrived in Canberra not knowing a lot about the nation’s capital, but understanding he would be safe here. He left family and friends there – some were also able to leave, but none settled in Australia.

Iaroslav’s connection with Canberra came via his employer Link Digital, for whom he had been working remotely since 2012 in Kharkiv.

“My company asked me if I wanted to come to Australia,” he said. “I didn’t know very much about it and it was a big decision to make, but I came out.

“Many of my friends had already left Ukraine to go to other places … the war had started.

READ ALSO Canberra’s street pantries turn to used cans and bottles for support

“I lived in the eastern part of Ukraine, about 30 km or 40 km from the Russian border, so I decided to go.”

Once in Canberra, he helped his mother and her partner also get to Australia and the family was together again.

But it was to become even better when he met a Colombian woman, Daniela, while playing volleyball in Lennox Gardens. The two married in 2019 and now have two children, Abigail, almost one, and Marcus, three.

Today, with the second anniversary of the invasion of Ukraine by Russia on Saturday, 24 February, Iaroslav is keen to give back to his homeland – he will compete in the Canberra Marathon on Sunday, 7 April, with all money raised from his sponsorship going to help people in Ukraine.

Chairman of Link Digital, Steven Da Costa, said Iaoslav’s connection with Canberra began in 2012, before the annexation of Crimea.

READ ALSO Government commits to more military aid for Ukraine

“Our company was able to help him relocate to Canberra before the full-scale invasion,” he said. “After the 24 February 2022 full-scale invasion his parents have been able to come to Canberra as refugees and his mother is an active member of the local Ukrainian diaspora, raising funds and awareness of Ukrainian culture and identity.”

He said Iaroslav’s work with Link Digital related to supporting open data programs for a number of state governments, as well as the National open data portal, data.gov.au which supports a key pillar of liberal democracies worldwide.

“As the head of product management he is often burning candles over many time zones and often stuck on his laptop banging away at a keyboard.”

Iaroslav said although he and his family felt safe in Canberra, it was very hard for many people still living in Ukraine.

“That’s why I want to do this, to help them. The money will go into a humanitarian fund to help in hospitals or schools, whoever needs it.

“People in Ukraine today are weary, they’re so tired of war – but they are more terrified of being shelled and of being persecuted under Russian rule.

“Raising money can help them with immediate relief so their lives can go on.”

To support Iaroslav Pereiaslovets in the Canberra Marathon go to the website

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