Irish businesses can help Ukrainian refugees through new website

21 Mar 2022

Co-founders of Máirín Murray and Anton Krasun. Image: Maxwells Dublin is a portal for refugees from Ukraine to access discounted or free offers from Irish businesses.

A new website has been launched to allow Irish businesses to help refugees fleeing the invasion of Ukraine by offering products and services at discounted rates or for free., which means ‘hello’ in Ukrainian, was launched today (21 March) as a not-for-profit initiative by the Tech for Good Dublin community. The aim is to mobilise companies in Ireland in helping welcome Ukrainian refugees to the country.

Future Human

The website will act as a portal for refugees to find Irish businesses making offers and contact them directly to avail of the offers, which currently include a range of services such as discounted or free coffee, meals, working spaces and yoga classes.

The goal of the website is to attract more Irish businesses, such as grocery shops, cafes, gyms, pharmacies, drapery shops and more, to post offers exclusively for those arriving in Ireland from Ukraine.

Ireland has welcomed more than 9,000 refugees from Ukraine in recent weeks, with estimates of up to 100,000 expected to arrive in the coming months.

Máirin Murray, co-founder of Tech for Good Dublin, said that the tech community in Ireland is “horrified” by the war in Ukraine and wants to play its part in welcoming people in this time of distress.

“ is a simple idea that allows businesses to offer a helping hand through a welcome offer for their goods or services to Ukrainian refugees,” she explained.

The website is a result of a recent Tech for Good Dublin event called Ireland Supports Ukraine, where the group discussed ways to mobilise the Tech for Good community to help refugees feel welcome.

“It will also be a testament to the kindness and generosity of the Irish business and tech community,” Murray added.

Volunteers behind the initiative include Murray, Talita Holzer, Robbie Fryers, Andrew Murtagh, Anton Krasun, Eamonn Sayers, Hanan Swan, Angelika Sharyniga and Natalia Krylin.

Future Human, Silicon Republic’s sci-tech event happening in Dublin this May, is offering free tickets to tech professionals who have arrived from Ukraine and are interested in attending.

Scholarship and research

Meanwhile, the Irish Government has proposed using the Erasmus programme to create a new EU scholarship scheme for students and researchers fleeing Ukraine.

Minister for Further and Higher Education, Research, Innovation and Science, Simon Harris, TD, made the proposal last week amid a wider EU response to the crisis, aiming to help people from Ukraine in “a comprehensive, compassionate and humanitarian way”.

At a meeting of EU education ministers, Harris and other leaders also discussed making language provisions available to those from Ukraine as well as making third-level education systems more accessible to them.

“When it comes to education, like so many other areas, we are strongest when we coordinate and work together across the EU. I am sure we can learn from each other – let us share our responses so that we can ensure our actions are impactful,” Harris said.

While the European Commission is already looking at its own programmes, such as Erasmus, to find ways to help refugees, Harris pushed for “an additional step” in which the programme would be used to fund a new scholarship scheme to help students fleeing war to continue their studies.

“In Ireland, when I talk of accessing education, it is not just about entering a school or college, it is about supports for learning materials such as books, or a laptop,” he added. “I don’t believe we should try and create a new system, but we could use one that is known to work and expand it to suit the needs of Ukrainian people.”

Separately, the European Research Council (ERC) is also urging its grantees in Ireland and across Europe to provide temporary employment to researchers and support staff fleeing Ukraine.

The ERC, which is the EU’s leading funding body for research set up in 2007, has contacted all its 5,600 current grantees on the matter and is collecting information on potential job opportunities for those displaced by the war.

ERC president Prof Maria Leptin called on all grantees and the institutions hosting them to open their labs and teams to refugee researchers and other staff.

“You may be planning to hire team members for your ERC-funded project, and I would ask you to consider refugee researchers and other staff members from Ukraine whose expertise matches your needs,” she said.

“This is only one way of giving a helping hand – it’s crucial that the scientific community stands together.”

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Vish Gain is a journalist with Silicon Republic