Student develops helpful new app for refugees
The city of Kamp-Lintfort would like to find ways to help refugees adapt quickly and easily to their new surroundings. Jonas Hallmann, student at Rhine-Waal University of Applied Sciences, has made an important contribution to this effort through his new multilingual app easyl.kamp-lintfort.
Kleve/Kamp-Lintfort, 28 June 2016: How can I register for German courses? Are there local sport clubs I can join? How can I find a local doctor, or a kindergarten for my child? Refugees need a lot of information and assistance in their first weeks in Germany. Their options are limited in most cases, so refugees often turn to employees of the social services office, support organisations, other asylum seekers or volunteer helpers. Unfortunately, the language barrier complicates even the most simple of questions. Fortunately, the city of Kamp-Lintfort, in cooperation with Rhine-Waal University of Applied Sciences, have a new free tool to help refugees find their bearings and speed up the integration process.
In collaboration with the city of Kamp-Lintfort, Jonas Hallmann developed a new support app for refugees for his bachelor’s thesis in Media Communication and Computer Science under the supervision of Professor Dr Frank Zimmer. The app, which is accessible through any browser and internet connection, offers helpful information and answers to everyday questions. More impressively, the app is available in the languages German, English, French, Arabic, Russian, Urdu, Tigrinya, Farsi, Dari and Albanian, meaning it is accessible to a large portion of refugees.
“Communication is the key to integration. Many refugees rely on smartphones to find answers to their questions. That’s why we, the city, want to give them a straight-forward way of accessing important information,” said Dr Christoph Müllmann, head of the social services office in Kamp-Lintfort. This notion is reflected in the name of the app: easyl.kamp-lintfort, an amalgamation of the words ‘easy’ and ‘Asyl’ (German for ‘asylum’).
The new app has already made it through initial testing using refugees currently in Kamp-Lintfort and their phones. The testers were surprised and enthused at how easily they could access such abundant information.
The app and code have been handed over to the city of Kamp-Lintfort, who will assume responsibility for updating and maintenance. The app can be found at www.easyl.kamp-lintfort.net, as well as via a link on the homepage of the city of Kamp-Lintfort.
“This resource can be used in other communities as well. The groundwork has been laid; the information simply needs to be adjusted accordingly. We hope that other cities and communities will take advantage of this opportunity,” said Hallmann.