New German Language App for Refugee Kids

Photo: BKA/Andy Wenzel,

Photo: BKA/Andy Wenzel,

It was so inspiring to open my Politico Brussels Playbook email today and find that Austria’s government has created an app to help refugee children (and soon adults) learn German, so they can begin to integrate into society more easily. This is exactly the kind of creative solution I was calling for in my recent post, ‘I’m Young and Broke. How Am I Supposed to Help Refugees?

It’s especially important that the app, “hallo App Deutsch,” contains pictures and sound in addition to everyday words, because many refugees come from Arabic-speaking countries, and will never have used the Roman alphabet before. As I described in the post mentioned above, it’s much harder for refugees, who have endured unimaginable trauma, to then learn a language from scratch that uses an entirely different alphabet and numbering system than their own.

According to, an English-language Austrian news site,

“The app, co-funded with corporate sponsorship, is also set to be launched in Germany – the main destination for refugees in recent months – and a version for adults is also planned. The kid’s version will be available for free download from the iTunes App Store and the Google Play Store from the end of October.”

Many other creative solutions for aiding refugees have emerged over the last few days. The UN’s Refugee Agency recently announced partnerships with Kickstarter, Instacart, and AirBnB that allow you to help to whatever degree you can. Widespread participation and inspiring innovations like these programs will help end the horrors that refugees face.

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