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‘Bonjour Belgique’, new language app for Ukrainian refugees

Bonjour Belgique language app for Ukrainian refugees
10:10 15/11/2022

There are already a ton of language apps out today, but none that takes users through 50 practical chapters centred around the needs of refugees, reports RTBF.

More than 55,000 Ukrainians have settled in Belgium since the start of the conflict, according to UN figures.

The new free app ‘Bonjour Belgique’ was launched by Libraries Without Borders (Bibliothèques Sans Frontières), with support from the King Baudouin Foundation, to help refugees integrate in the country.

It’s part of the NGO’s emergency Ukraine action plan that provides psychosocial support and emergency education spaces. Director of education Muy-Cheng Peich described it as “a learning app for French, but centred around refugees’ daily lives”.

Ukrainian refugee Volodymyr Vladena said in a statement by the NGO:  “I am a developer myself and I find this app perfect! It completely meets my needs for learning French, in particular, in a context where I don't have a lot of free time and yet where I quickly need to be able to get by in French, for myself and for my family.”

The language-learning tool could also be used for refugees from other countries. “We created this app with the Ukrainian crisis in mind… However, it could also be used for other migrant languages such as Farsi, Pashto and Bengali,” added Peich.

But a lack of funds is making this objective more difficult. Libraries Without Borders is currently looking for financial and technological partners to help them develop multiple versions of the app.

It's accessible through the e-learning app Kajou, available on Android and will be on Apple devices in the coming days.

Written by Louis Kernoa-Pascoe