How Deloitte is helping Ukrainian refugees in Poland 

Deloitte’s Social Innovation Fund enabled the firm to make a tangible contribution to an unfolding humanitarian crisis.   

There was a moment in late February 2022 that shocked many around the world: when Russia launched an invasion of its next-door neighbour. When it became clear the assault wouldn’t be over soon, when Ukrainians began fleeing for safety in the hundreds of thousands, the countries offering them refuge realized they’d need to provide for their unexpected visitors for the foreseeable future.

A solid plan was needed, and needed fast. That’s where Deloitte comes in. Deloitte Canada and Deloitte Poland collaborated this spring to help Poland’s government determine how to settle and integrate millions of refugees. 

“Working on this project was a great opportunity to see how our work at Deloitte can have an impact on people around the world,” says Lucia Nalbandian, a consultant in the Canadian firm’s Public Sector Transformation group. “Having a sense of how Ukrainians were experiencing the war in their country and how dedicated governments were to helping them was incredibly inspiring, and the work was therefore very rewarding.” 

To date, more than 6.6 million Ukrainians have fled their nation. According to the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), more than 3.5 million of those had crossed the border into Poland by the end of May. 

That was a monumental sudden influx of people, who would likely all require immediate help with basic needs like shelter, food, and medical aid—and then assistance settling into a new country for the medium and possibly long term. The Government of Poland accepted the offer from Deloitte in March to help it determine how to best respond to the refugee crisis. 

Deloitte Canada tapped its Social Innovation Fund to provide pro bono services to help the government identify short-term supports and actions, and to develop both a medium- and long-term strategy to promote the successful social and economic integration of the refugees. Supported by colleagues in Poland and Germany, the Canadian team focused on identifying assets to underpin housing and labour initiatives. It also conducted jurisdictional scans and case studies to identify best practices and lessons learned.

The research Deloitte delivered has offered the Government of Poland practical solutions—such as streamlining access to the labour market and encouraging Polish citizens to identify residential vacancies—for housing, social integration, and economic and labour-market integration. The proposals would create significant and lasting positive impact for Ukrainian refugees and the Polish community alike. 

And for the Deloitte practitioners in Canada who were part of it. “It felt rewarding to know that our work was impacting so many individuals, and helping to improve the outcomes in this rapidly evolving situation,” says Jawad Khandoker, an Ottawa-based consultant in strategy, analytics, and M&A.

To learn more about this project, contact Josh Hjartarson. Read about other Deloitte social impact programs in our 2021 impact report.

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