“All you need is love” is not only a famous song by the Beatles but a mantra Francisco decided to live by.

This is his story.

One where his background as a pedagogical advisor and his passion for building human connections met and created opportunities for a group of Ukrainians.

Francisco, buddy leading a group for SPEAK for Ukraine
Francisco “Franzé”, buddy for SPEAK for Ukraine

SPEAK for Ukraine’s mission 

One year has already passed since the start of a conflict that shuffled all cards on the global table.

Ukrainians fleeing their homeland still make the news and Francisco is very well aware of it.

Adding to the stress of abandoning one’s home, the uncertainties that resettling brings along would make wobble even the strongest.

What can one do from their own city when the solutions to this conflict seem so out of reach?

Make sure that those lucky enough to reach the new community are welcome and given the tools to rebuild their story. For a starter. 

SPEAK for Ukraine aims to do just that: connecting Ukrainian refugees with locals and organisations to grant them a fair makeover. 

Iryna, helping other fellow Ukrainians settle in neighbouring Poland by sharing her knowledge of the local language, is one of many success stories.

Francisco also decided to follow her example and took action as a buddy.

Francisco’s experience as a buddy 

Skype call of a language group lead by Francisco for SPEAK for Ukraine
Franzé and his online language group for Portuguese

“That is the kind of experience that I recommend to all people. We build more empathy.” 

For Francisco, known by his friends as Franzé, the language groups constituted a sharing-learning loop. 

On his side, he would bring to the table his native language, Portuguese, and all the best his culture could offer.

The group, on the other hand, showered him with new experiences and takes on life and stories from a different corner of the world.
A corner that maybe has not been the luckiest recently, but that nonetheless bursts with history, traditions, folklore and hopes for the future.

“We learned the importance of respecting and growing with differences. On top of it, there are many other aspects we discussed like active listening, interculturality, global citizenship and volunteering.”

Francisco’s language group did not stop at language sharing and went beyond. He managed to build a relationship of trust, of humanity. 

Where differences are celebrated rather than swept under the rug, and where human beings felt free to share their vulnerabilities. Finally, where one was seen as being a citizen of the world instead of being labelled with some stereotype.

Girl speaking Portuguese after the language group.

Join SPEAK for Ukraine

The conflict is not over and consistently remains the support SPEAK for Ukraine provides for all those in need.

By leading a language group in your local language, you will be actively sharing a valuable tool to Ukrainian refugees like Franzé has been doing. 

Learning the local language and soaking themselves into the culture of the host country will prepare them to make their own way into the community as part of it, not as guests.

Join the mission, be part of SPEAK and start sharing your world.

Author: Valentina Rampazzo

Valentina is a polyglot and a culture deep diver. She has lived in 5 countries across Europe and has most recently joined SPEAK as a Copywriter Intern. Her passions are her plants, plant-based cooking and writing.

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