Media education for refugees

For many refugees, smartphones and the Internet are an essential aid to everyday life. But which offers provide good support and how can media be used to promote integration and exchange?

Refugees are constantly confronted with new challenges. It is not only a matter of overcoming language barriers, but also a general question of how the new everyday life can be implemented with the inclusion of self-expression and active participation. Intercultural media work can provide a starting point to make it easier for refugees to arrive and to stimulate and support exchange with locals.

Project ideas and recommendations for media work with refugees

Recommendations for action for working with refugees were developed as part of the 33rd GMK Forum. The blog "Medienpraxis mit Geflüchteten" (Media Practice with Refugees) presents, on the one hand, the recommendations for action developed in the process and, on the other hand, media education projects on the topic  " Media Education with Refugees" with their focal points, target groups and methods. The concrete suggestions can be used in work with children and young people as well as with adults. The project database offers an overview sorted by topic, target group, main media and federal state.

Offerings for refugees

New media naturally also offer concrete benefits in everyday life. For many refugees, smartphones and the Internet play an important role: they provide contact with home, enable communication and exchange with others who have arrived, and help with orientation or serve as a dictionary. The following overview presents some helpful offers and apps:

  • The open online dictionary Refugee Phrasebook supports communication between helpers and refugees. In addition, this was the basis of the app "Germany says Welcome," which was developed in 2015 at the "Jugend hackt" event. Under the new name "Welcome To NRW," the open-source project was specialized for regional aid in North Rhine-Westphalia and can also be adapted for other regions.
  • The App "Arrive" is primarily aimed directly at new arrivals and aims to support them in their first steps in Germany. It covers rights and obligations, as well as job and training opportunities and general tips on life in Germany. The app is free of charge and available in Arabic, English, Farsi, French and German for Android and iOS. Once downloaded, the app can be used without a constant Internet connection. The Goethe Insitut, the Federal Office for Migration and Refugees, the Federal Employment Agency, and the ARD educational channel alpha are behind the service.
  • The "Welcome App Germany" is an orientation and integration aid for migrants and refugees in Germany and is currently available free of charge in German, English, French, Arabic, Russian and Farsi. Supported operating systems include Android as well as iOS and Windows. The app provides both general and specific information, contains only verified and validated data, and can be used without a constant Internet connection.

Offers especially for children

  • An overview of Child-friendly information on the topic of flight is available at The listing also includes offers that are aimed directly at refugee children and can be used by them.
  • has also taken a closer look App addressed to children "phase 6 hello". under the microscope more closely. The vocabulary app aims to support children without German language skills in their first steps.
  • The new app of the Seitenstark chat is additionally translated into Arabic, making it easier for Arabic-speaking refugee children and young people to get started with the chat. The Seitenstark chat can thus also be used as a German learning tool. There are regular translation chats in which German- and Arabic-speaking children can communicate directly with each other in their respective native languages.

Support from volunteers

Although many of the offerings mentioned are already designed to remain usable without a permanent Internet connection after a one-time download, the availability of Internet access is a fundamental prerequisite for the usability and updating of apps and information pages. There are already a number of initiatives by committed volunteers who are working to equip refugee accommodations with freely usable Internet access

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