Website connects Ukrainian refugees with hosts

SAN DIEGO — Making the bed is an act of love for Echo Roben.

She prepares to welcome another Ukrainian family seeking asylum in America as the war in Ukraine continues.


What do you want to know

  • UkraineTakeShelter.com is an independent platform that helps connect Ukrainian refugees with potential hosts and accommodation
  • Ukraine Take Shelter was created by Harvard students Avi Schiffmann and Marco Burstein, and developed with Irish software engineer Daniel Conlon
  • This website is a public bulletin board where anyone with free space can post a list and then mark it as filled once they have successfully hosted refugees.
  • According to Schiffmann, more than 10,000 families have found housing through the site

Roben has just finished hosting her first Ukrainian family, her parents and their two children, who she connected with through the website UkraineTakeShelter.com.

“All we could think was, ‘Oh my God, we have an extra room.’ See if we can help someone along their journey away from home,” Roben said.

The website has become a lifeline for refugees trying to find a safe place during war.

“So far, more than 10,000 families have found real housing through this site,” said Avi Schiffmann.

Schiffmann is 19 and developed the website with his friend Marco Burstein when they were students at Harvard.

In just three days, they built Ukraine Take Shelter to connect Ukrainian refugees with potential hosts and housing anywhere in the world. He hopes the website will continue to help people and also inspire everyone to do what they can to make the world a better place.

“This website has had a real impact on the war so far,” he said. “And I’m just a random 19-year-old who went to YouTube and learned to code. And I think a lot of other people could do the same thing. There’s always something going on in the world. »

When Schiffmann was 17, he developed a website, ncov2019.live, to help track the spread of coronavirus around the world. Dr. Anthony S. Fauci presented him with the Webby Person of the Year award online in 2020. He also created websites for Black Lives Matter and the 2020 presidential election.

Roben will always remember her first family, even as she prepares to welcome whoever needs her next.

“I got a note today from the foster mum, and she had it translated into English, but she said the most important thing we bought them was time,” he said. she declared. “It’s time to understand.”

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