At Babbel, diversity is one of our core values, and also one of our biggest strengths. That’s why we feel a responsibility to do our part in improving the situation of the many refugees that have made the difficult journey to Europe in recent months.
In order to help our new neighbors settle in, we’ve partnered with four organizations that share our concerns:
– The Senate of Berlin
– The AWO (Arbeiterwohlfahrt), a provider of refugee homes
– Kiron Open Higher Education, an organization that helps refugees to prepare for study in partner universities
– The Hoffnungsträger Stiftung, a foundation providing various vital services to refugees
Together, we’re providing refugee initiatives with €1 million worth of language courses. These initiatives cover some key services for new arrivals – from first registration, right through to accommodation and online university.
We know about providing a great product for our customers, but helping refugees to learn a language is completely new territory for us. That’s why it was so important for us to work together with organizations that have both the expertise and experience needed to provide the most effective help possible. We could have just offered free courses online, but that wouldn’t necessarily have had any real impact – through our partner organizations, we’re able to deliver language learning directly to the people that need it most.
In order to do this, members of the Babbel team are currently visiting refugee registration centers to help people download the app and get started with the courses. Subscriptions will also be provided to every student of Kiron Open Higher Education, and included within the various services that the Hoffnungsträger Stiftung already offers.
“Language plays a crucial role in successful integration,” says Michael Müller, the Mayor of Berlin. “With Babbel, we’re enabling refugees to begin learning German right from their initial registration in Berlin. This non-bureaucratic approach benefits everyone.”
It’s early yet, but we’ve already learned a great deal from our project partners. AWO explained to us that, although Arabic is the first language of many refugees, many actually have a very good grasp of either English or French. As this is also true of refugees from other parts of the world, providing courses in these two languages is the fairest solution for everyone.
As AWO Berlin Chairman Manfred Novak explains: “Equality is a key consideration with all of the facilities we provide. By providing these two options for the Babbel courses, we’re able to cater to a very wide audience.”
Along with the online courses, we’re helping to make sure refugees have access to high-quality traditional language classes. For several weeks now, our linguists, education experts and professional language teachers have been training volunteer German teachers in a series of workshops at Babbel HQ.
And finally, we’re also very proud to announce our support for the following refugee programs:
– ABW Berlin
– Europaschule Bremen
– Refugee Home Neuruppin
– Refugee Hostel Planegg
– Refugee Home Unterhaching
– Nordwest Wien