LINGVO Volunteers is a distributed group of volunteer interpreters who translate for Ukrainian refugees. The group was initiated by a few Russian-speaking activists outside of Russia and currently involves hundreds of Ukrainian and Russian-speaking volunteers from all over the world. They use a Telegram chat to gather and process all requests and operate a toll-free hotline to provide live interpretation over the phone. All the services are provided by volunteers free of charge. Operators of the hotline are volunteers, too. To ensure that calls also don’t cost anything to the refugees, the group sustains the line with their own resources and crowdfunds to finance the hotline and make it available worldwide.
Theory of Change
Using social media allows volunteers from around the world to provide interpretation to refugees and helps build cross-border solidarity.
Volunteers translate household, medical, and legal documents and interpret conversations over the phone in various milieus - hospitals, job centers, embassies, etc. LINGVO Volunteers also started a group collecting and posting information about free lessons that volunteer teachers conduct for Ukrainian refugees. In some cases, they are interpreters who received express training and are now teaching languages to the refugees.
LINGVO Volunteers started in early March, 2022 with 300 volunteer interpreters. Within one month the pool of volunteers increased to over 500. Their telegram channel has now brought together over 1,300 participants, including volunteers working with large organizations providing aid to refugees.