The French publishing team behind the vastly popular “Guide du Routard” has created a new travel guide aimed towards helping migrants and refugees communicate basic needs. According to France 24, the new guide, “Hello,” will be distributed to migrants for free as they enter into the country.
“Hello” is a 90-page book that contains no words, but instead helpful pictures covering a variety of different situations and travel tips. The book is broken down into five sections: practical information, housing and shelter, health, food, and leisure. These pictures will help the refugees satisfy their basic needs and allow them to communicate with the locals.
“A smile is the universal way of saying ‘hello’ and ‘thank you’ in most cultures,” says Alley Bradley, Managing Director,Paris Copia. “The guidebook coupled with the patience from locals, will help the refugees adjust to a new environment in a welcoming manner.”
The company, Routard, reports that the creation of this guide was a direct response to their disappointment with the French government and how they have dealt with the refugee issue in wake of the violence in Syria.
”The government said it would take in 24,000 refugees but I don’t find that to be enough,” says Routard founder Philippe Gloasguen. This relates to a recent agreement between France and the European Commission to take in refugees over the course of two years. “We are not talking about refugees but people who are going to die.”
The guide will have an initial print-run of 5,000 copies and production of the books is estimated to cost around 10,000 euros. The print is being funded equally by Routard and the Voyageurs du Monde travel agencies. Copies of “Hello” will be distributed to migrants free of charge as they enter the country.
“During World War II, families risked their lives to help Jewish refugees,” says a humbled Gloasguen in an interview with RFI. “We are risking nothing but a bit of time and help. In return we receive smiles and gratitude, and I can say that brings much satisfaction.”