Three apps are helping refugees connect and build links in their new communities
1. Arriving in a new country can be overwhelming. Public authorities are able to provide accommodation and food, but don’t often have the capacity to support social needs. Swedish app Welcome! aims to fill the gap. It features an easy-to-navigate platform giving refugees access to information including on government policies, jobs and schools. A chat function allows newcomers to ask locals questions to help them settle in, such as where to find free internet access. It has been downloaded more than 10,000 times.
Available on iOS and Android
2. Refugees report feeling confused and isolated when new to a country, especially if they can’t speak the language. Refugeye aims to help newcomers communicate via pictograms and drawings in situations where words fail, such as when registering with the authorities. The app’s creator, Paris-based graphic designer Geoffrey Dorne, hopes it will help them avoid missing out on advice and support for which they’re eligible. He built it after attending a hackathon where he interviewed refugees and employees of UNHCR – the UN Refugee Agency. The project is open-source, meaning anyone can contribute.
Available on Android
3. Breaking bread with strangers has long been seen as a way to build bridges within communities. Those at Refoodgee want to help refugees in Berlin feel at home by using a mutual love of food to unite them with locals. Newcomers to the German capital can sign up, noting the languages they speak and cuisine preferences, before being paired with hosts accordingly. Its creators, a group of tech entrepreneurs, hope that the app will smooth social integration. They say that preparing and enjoying a meal isn’t about what’s on the plate, but sharing stories and getting to know each other.