In Remembrance of Those Who Have Drowned at the Borders of Europe

Mashrou’ Leila – The Sea| مشروع ليلى – بحر

Bahr (The Sea)

Oh night, shroud me; veil me with your darkness
Oh night, impregnate me; empower me with your darkness
My brother saw the secret; saw the secret he would’ve revealed
My brother, seized by the waves, seized by the waves as he squealed
And the fishermen just slept

Oh Poseidon return to me, return to me my brother
The waves have swindled me; have robbed me of my brother
I took him to the shore, so the waves may wash him clean,
And there upon that shore, stained the waves incarnadine.
And the fishermen just slept

My brother lies with the mermaids, bring him back to me
My brother was stolen by the waves, won’t you bring him back to me
My brother left me with the break of dawn, never to return to me
He lies upon the ocean floor, never to return to me


يا ليل إحجبني حجبني بعتمتك
يا ليل إملئني قويني بعتمتك
أخوي شاف السر شاف السر كان حيبوح
أخوي جوا الموج جوا الموج عمبينوح

والصيادين نائمين

يا بحر رجعلي رجعلي أخوي
الموج سرقلي خطفلي أخوي
اخذته حد البحر خلي الموج يطهره
أخذته حد البحر دبغت الموج بدمه

والصيادين غافلين خامدين نائمين

أخوي مع الحورية
رجعوه لي
الموج أخذلي أخوي
رجعوه لي

أخوي راح مع الفجر
لسا ما عاد لي
أخوي بقعر البحر

لسا ما عاد لي


Share on FacebookTweet about this on TwitterEmail this to someone
Prix Ars Electronica Award of Distinction 2016

Prix Ars Electronica Award of Distinction 2016

We are very very happy to announce that Refugee Phrasebook has won the 2016 Prix Ars Electronica Award of Distinction in the category Digital Communities. This award of distinction has previously been awarded to organizations such as Wikileaks, the Free Software Foundation, and Refugees United.

We want to thank everyone involved in the project, all the contributors, translators, printers, distributors, designers, volunteers, programmers, writers, donors, all of our friends for continuing to make Refugee Phrasebook possible.

The whole team sincerely hopes that the award will help us to continue working on this project and getting it to the people and places who need it.

Refugee Phrasebook is always looking for new people to get involved in the project and to collaborate with. Please feel free to get in touch with us through!


Share on FacebookTweet about this on TwitterEmail this to someone

Logo and Website Updates

Refugee Phrasebook receives a new logo by Berlin-based graphic designer Matthias Neumann, a new filter function by José Salguero and a website update by Markus Neuschäfer.


Matthias logo design strikes the balance between the old and the new consisting of two main elements. The speech bubble stands for the conversations that should be enabled by the Phrasebooks usage. The dots symbolize the further development of the project with the help of Others. The customed logo gives us a fresh identity and allows us more freedom since our previous logo included an image from the icon archive and could only be used with a license disclaimer.



With the new filter function by José Salguero, phrases from the Google spreadsheets can be displayed with a custom language selection. The code is available on Josés GitHub repository and can be reused and embedded on other websites as well.




Many thanks for your generous help José, Matthias and Markus!


Share on FacebookTweet about this on TwitterEmail this to someone

PArt of Us at CSM London

April 25th, 5pm-9pm members of the Refugee Phrasebook team will attend an Exhibition and Fundraiser in aid of Refugees at Central Saint Martins, London. Sample versions of the phrasebook will be exhibited. Marta Monge will show the development of a mobile version using Raspberry Pi. Caoimhe Gallagher (RPB) and Monika Dorniak (RPB) will give a presentation on the Phrasebook Project and will be available from 5pm -9pm explaining how to use the easy LibreOffice version which enables everyone to create their own version. Tickets are free and can be booked here.

Share on FacebookTweet about this on TwitterEmail this to someone
Distribution in Idomeni

Distribution in Idomeni

Refugee Phrasebook has recently received a new printing request: A phrasebook with Arabic, English, Farsi, Urdu, Greek and Kurdish for the Idomeni camp in Greece. Our team made a PDF with these languages through Wikibooks and thanks to Raul Walch and other volunteers, 1000 copies of Refugee Phrasebook were printed in Idomeni this week to improve communication in the camp. (more…)

Share on FacebookTweet about this on TwitterEmail this to someone

Advocate Europe

OKF Greece distributing phrasebooks in Idomeni, Greece

OKF Greece distributing phrasebooks in Idomeni, Greece

We have applied for the Advocate Europe Award in order to develop Refugee Phrasebook further. The Community Award allows the public to pick their favourite project. The three ideas with the most user votes receive awards worth €5,000 (first place), €3,000 (second place) and €2,000 (third place). These funds will be used to support the development, printing and distribution of phrasebooks. We need your participation: you can create an account here and vote until March 17th (12.00 CET). After you’ve registered and activated your account, please open the link again so you go straight to the Refugee Phrasebook proposal, wait till it fully loads (it can take a little while), then click “Support”. (more…)

Share on FacebookTweet about this on TwitterEmail this to someone
OER Award

OER Award

Based on the simple aspiration that access to education and quality education materials should be open to everyone regardless of citizenship, wealth, or gender, the three day OER festival, held in the Landesvertretung Schleswig-Holstein in Berlin, brought together more than 325 key figures involved in the promotion of open educational resources and free teaching material in Germany.


Share on FacebookTweet about this on TwitterEmail this to someone
Reviewing 2015

Reviewing 2015

With the holidays approaching, we want to thank you all for your support! Since we started this website, >110.000 phrasebooks have been printed, several apps were developed and new languages added. In the next month, we want to foster distribution and update the existing pdf versions in collaboration with refugees and helpers. Here are some impressions from the efforts so far:  (more…)

Share on FacebookTweet about this on TwitterEmail this to someone

Customize a print version

When you create a custom print version of the phrasebook, there are a few things to keep in mind:

  • Before you start, check the existing versions on wikibooks – maybe a print version already exists?
  • Please contact your local refugee initiative in advance, to make sure you produce a booklet that helps an existing need. You’ll need the following information:
    Which languages are required? How many pages can they print? Which sets of phrases do they need (e.g. general orientation / medical / juridical ) ?
  • Office and design software often breaks non-western script, rendering it unreadable. Unfortunately, this is hard to detect if you are unfamiliar with the language. To be on the safe side, please check your test print with a native speaker before you print thousands of copies.
    For a quick impression, you can use the following test for the word “hello”. The Arabic word should look similar to the example in the green field:

test arabic


For further details on conversion, please check the documentation here. If you need support to fund your a local print run, please contact us at .

Share on FacebookTweet about this on TwitterEmail this to someone
Seite 1 von 212