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Volunteers needed for Benvenuti ABC

PubCoder are building a picture dictionary to help volunteers working with refugees to easily communicate with refugee children. The picture dictionary will be made as an interactive app, and will be distributed to all volunteers working in refugee camps.

We spoke with Enrico Gazzano, Co-Founder, VP International & Education at PubCoder, who told us a little more about the initiative and the work still needed to complete the dictionary.

Can you tell us more about the project?

When last October, the first wave of migrants arrived in Germany, illustrator and volunteer at refugee camps Anna Karina Birkenstock decided to use the universal language of illustrations and PubCoder technology to build a tool to help communicating with refugee children. Anna and her husband, Caspar Armster, collected 150 everyday illustrated words designed by 25 illustrators, who enthusiastically joined the initiative and helped to create Das Wilkommens ABC, a free English/German audio digital book for mobile devices used by volunteers.

Inspired by this exceptional story and realizing how this would have been also useful in Italy, we decided to launch the same initiative here and spread it globally to our customers. During the Children’s Book Fair in Bologna we launched a call to illustrators and creative people to help us to create a fun animated picture dictionary with audio in Italian and English that volunteers will be able to use with their smartphones.

The response by the Italian community of creative people has been overwhelming. A few days later, a community of Turkish illustrators asked us to be involved in the project and UN workers in Lebanon will support us for translation in Arabic.

And finally, Fondazione Migrantes – Caritas, first point of contact for migrants and refugees in Italy, decided to support us and came on board as our main partner of the initiative. The picture dictionary Benvenuti ABC will be jointly launched in September and distributed to all volunteers working in refugee camps. The app will be available to download for free from Apple iTunes and Google Play stores.

This version will be the first major step and we are hoping to include more languages in the app in the coming months.

How will the digital picture dictionary app work?

Words are listed in alphabetical order. Each letter has a number of animated colourful words. Readers can play with the animated illustration and play two buttons with both Italian and English. On touch down you can listen how the words are pronounced.

When we decided to build Benvenuti ABC we thought the interactive elements would have added a fun twist to the experience of the picture dictionary, especially for kids, therefore all illustrations are animated.

Are you still looking for volunteers?

Yes, we are still looking for volunteers happy to participate by sending us illustrations for the missing words.

All people involved in the project, illustrators, voice over actors, editors, translators etc. have participated pro-bono. We’d like to think that every person involved in the project is a “Welcome” to every migrant who put a foot in our country.

What content are you looking for?

We are looking for 30 fun and colourful illustrations, if you want to participate, hurry up! Every day the list shortens.

Are you close to assigning all of the words?

We are nearly there! We have covered 155 words and still missing 30 words to complete the dictionary. It’s simple: send an email to Giulia and ask her to assign you a word. Then download PubCoder for free from our website, import your illustration in the programme and animate it. All instructions are available from our dedicated page

Finally, what’s next for PubCoder?

PubCoder continues to dialogue with creative people who use our software to make extraordinary digital content for companies, schools, universities etc.; every day our customers surprise us with a new idea or a new application, this makes our journey very exciting.

For more information, visit PubCoder’s website here.

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