“To have another language is to possess a second soul”, said Charlemagne.

Whether or not you’d go quite that far, saying a few words in someone else’s language is a sure fire way to make them feel welcome, and to bring you a little closer to where they’re from. It will probably make you both laugh too (which is always nice).

Decide what you’d like to learn to say. Hello in Tigrinya, or enjoy your meal in Arabic? Welcome in five languages, or happy birthday in twenty???

Maybe there’s someone in your community who can help you get the pronunciation just right. Or for simple phrases, you could turn to Google Translate for help.

You could even turn to the Twittosphere for a translation, using the hashtag #SimpleActs.

When you’re ready, share your new found linguistic skills on social media using the hashtag #SimpleActs (go on, capture it on camera!), or email us.

To get started, learn how to say “I love you” in Swahili in this quick lesson from Refugee Week Ambassadors Florence and Richard:


There are 20 Simple Acts to celebrate 20 years of Refugee Week. For more information and the full list, visit the Simple Acts page.