Success for Website Connecting People Fleeing Ukraine and People Willing to Host

June 1, 2022
By Amloud Alamir

In less than three months thousands of people have registered as hosts on the platform It only took a few days after the invasion of Ukraina until Farhad Shamo Roto and Nick Antipov had a solution to connect the displaced of Ukraine with a safe place to stay.

An Iraqi refugee who survived the genocide and a political refugee from Belarus co-founded the which has become an internationally recognized platform for providing housing for war refugees.

– I am a person who was born in war, grew up in famine, experienced genocide, lost colleagues and friends and I believe that the only hope for my survival is to help those who, like me, have gone through difficult circumstances. The goal of is to find solidarity housing for refugees from Ukraine. We focused on Europe, but after we started working, we found that housing was offered all over the world, says Farhad Shamo Roto, Yazidi from Iraq who today lives in France and is the founder of Voice of Ezidis.

Many people willing to help
– We built this platform in three days and you know, it was incredible. And then we received like hundreds, and thousands of requests from people willing to help to host people from Ukraine. People published their ads on our website, and 3.000 families already found their home through our website, says Nick Antipov, a Belarusian LGBTQ activist and the co-founder of the organization MAKEOUT, living in Berlin.


It was not easy at first for the two young men, who know each other through The Barack Obama Foundation’s Leaders program. But with the help of companies and more than 100 volunteers around the around the world they were able to move their project forward.

– In the first week, we received a bill from Google Maps services. 20.000 € for one month, and this was definitely a shock for us, because as refugees and volunteers we don’t have these financial resources and we don’t have a fundraising strategy. We contacted Google directly and were able to convince Google to provide the services for free on a monthly basis, says Farhad Shamo Roto.

Identities of host are verified

– So the platform is very simple, people who want to help people from the war, people in need, register on our platform. Just through a click, they enter they phone number, email and then verify their identity and then publish a story about themselves. And the people who want to find a home, the people in need and at the borders, need to look at our map and find a suitable location, a preferable district, and then you directly connect with the host. So we are creating the connection, we are in between, we are connecting the host and the people in need. It is just simple, says Nick Antipov.

– We work with a company to verify the identity of the host. We have signed a contract with this company and the host identification feature is available on the platform. There are people who can make an offer for six months, some for a year or three years and there are many who offer housing until the end of the emergency, says Farhad Shamo Roto.