The platform offers potential sponsors a safe, streamlined process for connecting with Ukrainians displaced by the current conflict
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Spotted: Since the start of the current Russian invasion of Ukraine, people around the world have been welcoming refugees fleeing the conflict. In the US, the ‘Uniting for Ukraine’ programme offers Ukrainians a pathway to permanent residency if they are sponsored by a US citizen.
Launched on World Refugee Day, a new platform called Welcome Connect makes it easy for US citizens to connect with Ukrainian refugees who lack an existing connection to a sponsor. Since the 22nd of June, Americans interested in sponsorship have been able to sign-up for the plaform, which was then opened to refugees seven days later. Once the platform reaches a critical mass of profiles for both sponsors and beneficiaries, users will be invited to connect with one another.
The site, which was developed with support from Goldman Sachs, ServiceNow, Infosys, and the Breakthrough Prize Foundation’s Tech for Refugees initiative, is designed to be safe and easy to use. The goal is to give vulnerable Ukrainians agency while ensuring that US sponsors have a positive experience.
Welcome.US, the organisation behind Welcome Connect, is also inviting Americans to take action to support Ukrainian and Afghan newcomers through its ‘Be a Welcomer’ campaign. Those who pledge to become a ‘welcomer’ can help refugees from Afghanistan, Ukraine, and elsewhere in a number of ways. Welcomers can donate funds or provide support in kind through sponsorship and volunteering. Alternatively, they can provide other resources such as safe transportation or temporary housing.
Springwise has previously spotted an architecture firm that provides modular shelters for Ukrainian refugees. Other innovations supporting refugees include cooking classes led by refugees, and a language learning app helps migrant children navigate cultural differences.
Written By: Matthew Hempstead