• Language learning app to provide refugee projects with courses valuing €1M
  • The initiative is supported by the Senate of Berlin, AWO, Kiron and Hoffnungsträger Foundation
  • Babbel’s experts providing in-house training for volunteer language teachers in Berlin

Babbel’s app helps people discover foreign languages and learn at their own pace. As diversity is one of its core values, the company feels a responsibility to contribute to efforts that aim to alleviate the current refugee situation in Europe. In order to help refugees integrate into German society, Babbel has partnered with several organizations to facilitate sustainable and effective language learning courses. Together with the Senate of Berlin, AWO Berlin-Mitte, Kiron Open Higher Education and the Hoffnungsträger Foundation, Babbel will provide various refugee projects with €1 million worth of language courses. These projects include support in various refugee projects — from the official refugee registration office in Berlin, Germany, to various refugee homes lead by AWO and learning German at Kiron’s online university.

“We know exactly what our customers want from us,” explains Babbel Founder and CEO Markus Witte. “But in providing help to refugees, we find ourselves in completely new territory. That’s why it was important for us to partner with organizations that possess a wealth of relevant experience and expertise. Offering free online courses is all well and good, but you also need to get the courses into the hands of the people that need them.”

“Language plays a crucial role in successful integration,” adds Michael Mueller, 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.”

The experience that Babbel’s partners bring to the initiative has already proved invaluable. Not only will these organizations deliver the courses directly to refugees, but they’ll also support them in setting up and using the app. A particularly vital insight from AWO came early in the process: to avoid putting certain groups of refugees at a disadvantage, it’s actually best to provide German courses in English or French rather than Arabic, as one might have assumed.

“Equality is a key consideration with all of the facilities we provide,” says AWO Berlin Chairman Manfred Nowak. “The majority of refugees have at least a basic knowledge of either English or French. By providing these two options for the Babbel courses, we’re able to cater to a very wide audience.”

In addition to providing free access to German courses, the Babbel team is helping to train volunteer teachers who deliver face-to-face lessons in the refugee centers. These training sessions have been running for several weeks, and are delivered by a team of linguists, professional language teachers, translators and education specialists.

In addition to the above initiatives, Babbel is proud to support:

· ABW Berlin · Europaschule Bremen · Refugee Home Neuruppin · Refugee hostel Planegg · Refugee Home Unterhaching · West Vienna Initiative