Crowdfunding for Ukrainian refugees’ English lessons

13 Apr 2022

The university’s centre for language expertise, Radboud in’to Languages, has started a crowdfunding campaign to be able to teach English to Ukrainian refugees. An initial group of about twenty refugees can get started for 7000 euros.

Employees at In’to Languages were completely overwhelmed when they launched a course on Ukrainian for Dutch people who wanted to help at the end of March. They received 3500 applications from across the Netherlands. All interested parties could participate in three webinars where they were taught the basics of Ukrainian language and culture.

‘That group told us that the Ukrainians themselves want to improve their English’, according to In’to Languages’ René Vermeulen. ‘We would love to help them in this, but we lack the means to offer such a course free of charge.

Small Group

The basic course on Ukrainian for Dutch people was free. However, the brush-up lessons in English will be taught in much smaller groups, so that all attendees will receive personal attention. In’to Languages has started a crowdfunding campaign to get the first course off the ground. They will need 7000 euros to help around twenty Ukrainian people improve their English. ‘We will decide on either an online or in-person course, depending on where the learners are coming from’, according to Vermeulen. He cannot estimate how many participants will sign up, nor whether multiple courses will be needed.

The intended teacher is from In’to Languages and will not have to speak Ukrainian, since the learners already have (some) grasp of the English language.

But wouldn’t it make more sense to teach Dutch to those refugees staying in the Netherlands? Vermeulen disagrees. Initially, the refugees will only be in our country temporarily; nobody knows where they will end up. That means that English is much more useful to them, so they can make themselves heard wherever they are.

Because of the war, more than 4 million Ukrainians have left their country.

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