Refugee Aid 4.0-Help with digital means

12. July 2017

From a small local refugee worker for smartphones as a spontaneous entrepreneurial honorary office in Dresden to a large German-wide digital system with several solutions and high value for the weaker of society within the framework of the non-profit founded for this purpose. IT helps gGmbH.

Refugee Aid 1.0
In the summer of 2015, the refugee crisis posed major challenges for Germany. Many people have helped with their respective opportunities. Companies, too, have been engaged in their own way – monetary or with appropriate services. In Dresden, the first digital refugee worker for smartphones was created throughout Germany. This helpful multilingual app for the initial orientation of refugees in Dresden attracted a lot of attention. The recipe for success: Generally helpful information with local contacts on site as answers to many basic questions about life in Dresden as well as combined direct aid. The app is well designed and professionally designed for smartphones on Windows, iOS and Android. The content is available in German, English, French and Arabic. The app is free, easy to find and available. The catchy name Welcome App Dresden is intended to welcome strangers to Dresden. In addition to the Welcome App as an entrepreneurial honorary office, the Dresden-based IT company Heinrich & Reuter Solutions GmbH briefly gave HeiReS ® a permanent position as a web developer in August 2015, thereby integrating and integrating and Braving refugee aid convinced.

Refugee Aid 2.0
Shortly after the release of this local Welcome app, it became clear that an equal approach would be needed throughout Germany. Similar digital solutions have also emerged in other regions of the Republic. The creators of the Dresden Welcome app drew the logical conclusion and brought them to the Day of the German Unity, on March 3, 2007. October 2015, the Welcome App Germany on all platforms as an overarching German-wide solution. Operating this system in a growing and sustainable way for Germany is reaching its limits in the honorary office. Sustainability and professionalism require an economic foundation. The creators of the Welcome App Germany secure this with a sensible business model in which, on the one hand, they found commercial enterprises to be sponsors and, on the other hand, cities and counties secure admission under the umbrella of the Welcome App for a small allowance. Enable Germany. In mid-2016, refugees moved from the center of public perception, the problem perceived as solved. It has now been a problem of solutions that improve the cooperation of all parties involved – regional on the ground and throughout Germany. The creators of the Welcome App Germany have taken up this challenge thematically. For a better interaction of all those involved in the integration process, software variants were created, which are also useful for the helpers, consultants and management. As an extension, the Welcome app now offers versions for tablets, laptops, modern desktop computers and terminal computers. The linguistic diversity has been expanded to include Farsi and Russian. Direct contacts on the ground become the central instrument of cooperation and the basis for successful integration into local life. A wide range of individual regions, including local contacts, is growing under the umbrella of the Welcome App Germany: More than 60 cities, more than half of the state capitals, many counties and Saxony as frontrunners. In support of coexistence in Germany and the successful integration, the information was extended to an almost buther-like volume, including imaging in many topics such as Basic Law, Religion, Clothing, Food, State system, language, history and more. Multimedia components were added with explanatory videos on various topics. HeiReS ® has once again gone far beyond its core mission of the digital solution Welcome App Germany and made donations of just under €10,000 to various refugee aid campaigns in 2015 and 2016.

Refugee Aid 3.0
By the beginning of 2017 at the latest, a pure refugee focus turned out to be of little sense. It is necessary to address migrants of all kinds and also to help them to live and integrate in Germany. All have the desire for information and direct contacts in an understandable language. The creators of the Welcome App draw early conclusions and extend the range of target groups addressed to migrants of all kinds, motivations and broad countries of origin. This also addresses people who come to work, study, do business and even travel to Germany. The need for information as well as the local contacts are often very similar, only the languages of origin are to be used more diverse. Thus, Greek, Turkish, Bulgarian, Polish, Spanish, Portuguese are added as a language; Many more are planned. In order to provide as many people as possible with the valuable content of the Welcome App, the content is also offered even more widely in the media: As a PDF for printing for integration courses, as a website solution and as a WPF desktop version for older PCs, as well as variants for Digital book readers and as a printed book variant. Migrants who have been in Germany a little longer have similar questions: How do I get work? How do the education system and the German bureaucracy work? How do I get an apartment? Where can I learn German quickly and easily? These problems are met by the creators of the Welcome App Germany with further serious extensions. For a quick entry into the German language via the language changer of the app, phrases for learning German come as a combination of German and the other language. Audio-visual learning is encouraged by an illustrated vocabulary trainer and sketchy video animations of the texts contained in the app with German speakers. Another area of "Enterprise and Labour" supports the bringing together of migrants and employers on the ground with direct opportunities for interaction. Once again, HeiReS ® will give a Syrian refugee a job, which may take place in August. Can even be part of an apprenticeship as an IT specialist.

Refugee Aid 4.0
The far bigger step, however, is the transfer of the Welcome App to the non-profit company IT, which was founded in March 2017, helps gGmbH to be able to help even more actively with IT. With IT helps gGmbH, the possibilities have grown far beyond refugee aid. In addition to migrants and foreign citizens, helping IT solutions for the vulnerable in society serve other larger target groups:

  • For children and adolescents from socially vulnerable families as well as educational institutes and schools with the purpose of better teaching and learning in the sense of practiced education 4.0
  • For people with difficult access to the labour market such as women, the disabled, foreign citizens and seniors, as well as businesses and labour market players to create fair opportunities in the labour market
  • For foreigners of all kinds who would like to learn German, as well as integration managers for a better cooperation in Germany
  • For people with disabilities who want to consume digital media and need everyday relief, as well as responsible helpers and inclusion managers for real accessibility and lived participation. Inclusion

The Welcome App Germany will be part of the growing cosmos of various digital solutions. These solutions are all provided free, multilingual, cross-platform and barrier-free as globally available digital formats and as innovative social solutions from Germany. Thus, the more socially vulnerable could also become the winners of digitization. Just as the Welcome app has been around for a long time, there are also good approaches to the other digital solutions – created as the basis created by HeiReS ® and now operated or operated. Developed by IT helps gGmbH.

In addition to the IT solutions for Germany, discussions are currently under way to expand the platforms for Greece, Italy, Austria and Sweden, as well as a labour market platform with Bulgaria. International cooperation with aid organisations as well as with the political level in Germany and international approaches to cooperation could also promote the export success of Refugee Aid 4.0.

But we can't do all of that on our own. Only together can we be really helpful with digitization.

Please contact us and support us so that IT can really help gGmbH.

About Peggy Reuter-Heinrich
Permanently employed at HeiReS ® as Head of Design and UX Unit and CEO; Founder, shareholder and volunteer managing director IT helps gGmbH;
Designer for almost 25 years with a focus on software and mobile solutions, as well as author, trainer, speaker; Awarded several awards including Microsoft MVP Awards, Red Dot Award, German Design Award, A-Design Award