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You Are Welcome: A Guide for Refugees

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Published on Monday, 30 July 2018

The smartphone – one of the most important resources for a refugee. It helps them stay in touch with family back home and it is also a way to stay abreast of current affairs or talk with other refugees. On another note, smartphones provide access to the Internet and, consequently, to information portals of local administrations. The problem for migrants, however, is that many of these official websites are simply unnavigable. The information is hidden behind puzzling menus, written in officialese, or provided in English and French but not in Arabic.

This prompted SnT scientist Prof. Dr. Charles Max to develop the smartphone platform youarewelcome.lu for refugees.

 

Youarewelcome.lu presents all information relevant to refugees concisely and in plain language – including, for example, how to apply for asylum. “We have collated the essential facts from many official sources and prepared them in a way that everyone can understand,” says Max. For the translations into Arabic and Farsi, he had help from students who are native speakers from Syria and Iran. His team of researchers also recorded spoken versions of the information: illiterate refugees can now have the information read aloud.

L-R: Zohreh Baniasadi, Gilberto Fernandes Cardoso and Prof. Dr. Charles Max

Max consciously decided to develop a web platform rather than an app, which would need continual adaptation to new operating systems. “Users have confidence in our platform because it always works,” says Max. “We also make sure the information is constantly up to date.” The project, which goes by the name of ‘Mobile interaction for refugee integration’ (MIRI), is funded by the Oeuvre Nationale de Secours Grande-Duchesse Charlotte of Luxembourg.