Refugees are always told that it’s their responsibility to integrate, but assimilation should be a two-way street. So, for World Refugee Day 2021, instead of focusing efforts on teaching refugees to speak a new language, we created the #SayWelcome campaign for Duolingo, encouraging people to learn welcoming phrases in the languages most spoken by refugees.
Our aim was to inspire people to create more welcoming communities for refugees by teaching everyone phrases such as “my home is your home” and “we are more beautiful with you” in Amharic, Arabic, Dari, Farsi, Kurdish, Nepali, Pashto, Somali, Spanish, Swahili and Urdu.
In addition, an AR face filter was created for Instagram that gamified the idea by randomising phrases and challenging users to #SayWelcome on-camera on the day itself (20 June, 2021).
By turning different touch points into lessons, those who care and understand the power of language most were armed to take the first step towards making societies more welcoming towards refugees.
“Using language is the first step to having a voice. Learning a few welcoming words can be the first step to creating welcoming communities for refugees.” Emma Mällinen, W+K Amsterdam Creative
Duolingo also announced a partnership expansion with the International Rescue Committee (IRC) and one with the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), making commitments together to help support its mission to provide educational opportunities to refugees and other underserved communities around the world. Click here to find out more.