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Harvard students launch website to help Ukrainian refugees

A website for Ukrainian refugees has been developed by two Harvard students. The website’s goal is to link Ukrainian refugees with those who are prepared to take them in. Within a week after the Russian invasion of Ukraine, 19-year-old Avi Schiffmann and his buddy 18-year-old Marco Burstein designed, created and published the website UkraineTakeShelter.com.

People from all around the globe may sign up as possible hosts by providing information such as their location, the number of people they can accommodate, the languages they speak, and whether or not they can assist with transportation.

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To utilise the facilities, Ukrainian refugees do not need to register. They only need to go to the website and type in their location. The website will provide the nearest available hosts. The refugees are given information about the host so that they may make plans. The listings are automatically translated based on who is using the website.

‘The website is basically a public bulletin to aid in the discoverability of available hosts for Ukrainian refugees. It’s like a stripped-down version of Airbnb that’s directly for refugees’, Schiffman said.

He further added, ‘We tried to put ourselves in the shoes of a refugee visiting this website. They’re in a foreign country where they maybe don’t speak the language. They’re probably lost and confused and just escaped, literally, explosions and gunfire. They don’t want to go to a website that’s full of complicated paragraphs of government jargon’.

Refugees are not required to give personal information on the website. People from the United States, the Netherlands, Iceland, France, and other nations have registered as hosts on the website. The teenagers said they had not slept for three nights before launching the website on March 3.


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