European startup launches “SPEAK For Ukraine” for the integration of Ukrainian refugees across Europe | News

Lisbon, Portugal, March 28, 2022 /PRNewswire/ — SPEAK FOR Ukraine was launched on 12th of March16 days after the start of the war in Ukraineto respond to the need to integrate the now more than 2.8 million people who have been forced to leave the country.

This platform connects volunteers with organisations, as well as people who, after arriving in their host country, need help breaking the language barrier and creating an informal network of support. During these first days, hundreds of registrations have already been registered in more than 60 cities around the world.

Launched in collaboration with the Representation of the European Commission in Portugal & Associação Be Human, and with the support of the Fundação Ageas, this platform will allow:

  • Refugees from Ukraine to have free and easy access to language groups, where they can learn the language of the host country, and to emotional support groups to help them and their families integrate into their communities.
  • Volunteers support refugees from Ukraine facilitating language groups, sharing the local language and supporting organizations with translation and/or interpretation, from Ukrainian or Russian into a multitude of languages.
  • Organizations and civil society to orient refugees, register to be connected to a network of volunteer translators/interpreters and access emotional support groups.

“Through SPEAK For Ukraine, we want to complete the work that SPEAK is already developing in favor of the integration of refugees and migrants regarding the language barrier, in the different cities of the world where it is actively present”, says Hugo Menino Aguiar, Co-founder and CEO of SPEAK. “With this platform, we have created an integration solution not only at the individual level, but also at the family level. In this way, we ensure that families can overcome the language barrier and build an informal support network. in their host country by expanding our community to Ukraine neighboring countries where SPEAK does not yet have an active presence. At the same time, we seek to ensure that organizations around the world Europe who work with refugees can find all the language and integration support they need at SPEAK For Ukraine.”

In addition to the language barrier, SPEAK For Ukraine also responds to more immediate communication needs, by activating an international network of translators and interpreters, and to the psychological support needs of those who have escaped the war in Ukraine. Through a collaboration with Associação Be Human, refugees can access free, high-quality emotional support groups to help them overcome any trauma.

“The current humanitarian crisis requires a concerted response from public, private and social entities. It is essential to have a medium and long-term plan that includes emergency aid and structured support for the gradual integration of refugees into the Portuguese community This project represents all I would add that the speed with which the SPEAK team developed this specific program – focusing on the integration of these refugees and facilitating the work of other refugee organizations – is commendable. is with great pride that the Fundação Ageas supports this project in TALK!” adds João Machado, Chairman of the Board of Directors of Fundação Ageas.

On the importance of psychological support, Maria PalhaFounders of Be Human adds that “the invisible wounds of witnessing and experiencing war transcend our generations. It has become essential to create an emotional support program to prevent acute stress and psychological distress in the short, medium or long term. .”

Sophie Moreira de Sousahead of the representation of the European Commission in Portugalstresses that “Learning the local language, developing personal relationships and creating a network of support are essential for true integration. This is the impact of SPEAK. The European Commission is working tirelessly on several fronts, to stop this terrible war, facing its consequences and protecting and welcoming those who seek refuge in the European Union. This collaboration with SPEAK For Ukraine adds a concrete opportunity for volunteering, an opportunity to support people who are starting over and acts as an incentive for the wave of solidarity of the Portuguese people and other Europeans.

Further information

You can follow all the news of this initiative on (PT | FR | AU | UK) or via the hashtag #SPEAKforUkraine.


SPEAK is an impact startup founded in Portugal in 2014 as a solution to combat the social exclusion of migrants and refugees. The organization has a community of 52,000 people spread across 23 cities. SPEAK was one of the winners of the European Google Impact Challenge and took third place in the Chivas Venture Tournament 2019. For more information, visit

SPEAK’s social networks: Instagram | Facebook | LinkedIn | Twitter

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