Words by Smiley Team
A language learning platform has launched free language courses for Ukrainian refugees to help them settle into new countries.
Babbel has announced that courses teaching German, Polish or English will be made entirely free for native Ukrainian speakers.
Recent data from the UN shows that as of 3 May, 5.6 million people have left Ukraine with more than 3 million accommodated by Poland. Around 86,100 visas have been issued for Ukrainians in the UK and Germany have taken in around 390,000 refugees so far.
Babbel hopes that their language courses will be of great use to families and individuals who are already overwhelmed, settling into a new life and leaving their home behind.
“Language is often more than a skill. It can be a lifesaver, enabling access to critical information and essential services, reducing communication challenges, and empowering mutual understanding across people and communities," says CEO at Babbel, Arne Schepker. "It helps build bridges rather than walls, something that the world needs now more than ever.
“With millions of Ukrainians displaced and fleeing to the EU, there was an urgency to develop these courses in less than a month from start to finish.”
Staff at Babbel have worked hard to get the courses up and running for Ukrainian users who may be struggling with language barriers.
“Our courses, developed by our linguistic experts and based in one’s native language, allow faster learning and memory building to enable meaningful conversations," adds Arne.
“In this case, it meant creating courses that can be applied to real-life situations to meet the urgent language needs of Ukrainian displaced communities.”
For Ukrainian speakers learning English and German, the language levels available are A1 to B1 (Newcomer to Intermediate) and will cover introductions, basic expressions, asking questions, and describing events.
Likely to be the majority of users, those learning Polish can complete A1 to A2 (Newcomer to Beginner), which should help talking about daily life.
As well as the free language courses, Babbel has published resources including articles on arriving in Germany and Poland, a glossary for learning Ukrainian for citizens in host countries, and in-app push notifications to thousands of Russian learners living in Berlin, asking them to volunteer at welcome centres where Russian speakers are needed.
The company is also providing office space for Ukrainian humanitarian organisations in their Berlin office, where a volunteering centre is offering support for the care and accommodation of refugees.
FIND OUT MORE: You can access free language courses for Ukrainian speakers at the top of Babbel's website.
SUPPORT: Find out the charities working on the ground to support Ukrainians.