Refugee app from former student offers help to refugees

Fontys Information and Communication Technology
The war in Ukraine accelerated the launch Monday of the app Refugee Friend, which was already in the works anyway. With the app, refugees worldwide can find addresses of citizens who want to help them. The first connections have already been made.

It is the idea of Pieter Rambags from Goirle, who is committed to helping status holders. He asked his son-in-law, Fontys alumnus Kevin Vugts, to build the app.

Kevin graduated from Fontys Hogeschool ICT in 2019 in the direction 'Smart mobile' and has been building apps and websites with his own company Dutch Kiwi ever since. "This app is indeed a very special one", says Kevin.

Place to sleep
With the app, refugees all over the world can find addresses of civilians who want to help them. This can range from offering a place to sleep or sanitary facilities to providing food and medicine.

According to Kevin, over 120 providers have already registered and some refugees have already made use of their offers. According to Kevin, initiator Rambags is also being called from all sides to tell his story.

Green lamps
The Fontys alumnus worked extra hard with a team of developers to deliver the app quickly. And that, of course, had everything to do with the war in Ukraine, which has caused millions of people to flee.

But the app is also intended for all the other refugees in the world, many of whom are living in camps, but millions are also on the move. Along the way, they have to deal with criminal smugglers and militant groups, among other things. Their journey to a better world is particularly dangerous.  

The app supports people who would like to help, but often do not know how to go about it.  Rambags got the idea for the app from residents of Poland who put green lamps in their windows to show refugees that they can knock on the door for help. According to him this app is 'a green lamp on steroids'.

Refugees can use the app to look for people worldwide who are ready for them on a map. They can see that through markers on Google maps.

Safety' was an important issue for Rambags and the builders. Refugees can register under a nickname, but with a (not visible) valid e-mail address. Providers also have to register. There is an option in the app to report any malicious persons among them. The app also has an SOS button. A refugee in acute need can use this to alert helpers in a radius of 50 kilometres.

According to Kevin, new versions are already in the pipeline. Now the app is only in English, for example. Other languages will be added. He also wants to build a website. "I usually build for companies. This was a great opportunity for me to make something that has real impact and that we can help people with."

Author: Petra Merkx

Tags: In the Media