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Supporting Ukrainian Child Refugees in Hungary

We are delighted to present a guest blog from our partner Tech Matters. 

Tech Matters has built Aselo, a modern, open source contact centre platform that unifies the communications work of crisis response helplines, based on Twilio’s Flex technology. Aselo allows callers and texters to reach out to child helplines using their preferred communications channel rather than just traditional toll-free helpline numbers. People, and especially children, have far more access points to reach the help they need including voice, webchat, SMS, WhatsApp, Twitter, and Facebook Messenger. Counsellors benefit from an integrated system and tools designed to increase efficiencies and eliminate duplicate data entry.

Dee Luo, Tech Matters’ Senior Product Manager, writes about their recent collaboration with our child helpline member in Hungary.

Our child helpline partners are often at the frontlines of responding to global crises that affect not only their own direct communities, but also those of neighboring countries. When the conflict in Ukraine escalated to war in early 2022, Tech Matters, Child Helpline International and its child helpline members around Eastern Europe joined together to strengthen counselling efforts across country borders to better support Ukrainian children who had been forced to flee from their home country to safety.

Tech Matters is proud to partner with Kék Vonal Gyermekkrízis Alapítvány, the foundation running the national child helpline in Hungary (operating the 116 111 standard European child helpline number) to help support Ukrainian refugees seeking shelter in Hungary. With support from Child Helpline International and UNICEF, Kék Vonal has been able to staff the helpline with Ukrainian and Russian-speaking trained counsellors to provide psychological support. Simultaneously, our team at Tech Matters worked to set up a customized version of Aselo in Hungarian that those dedicated Kék Vonal counsellors can use to manage inbound calls and chats from Ukrainian and Russian-speaking children.

Screenshot of counsellor's Aselo interface in Hungarian, with an active conversation in Cyrillic

When working with child helpline partners who are adopting Aselo, our goal is typically to unify a number of different systems that counsellors use both to capture data and handle counselling conversations spanning different communication platforms. However, due to the crisis situation at hand we wanted to be time sensitive and move quickly. Kék Vonal decided that instead of replacing their currently functioning call and chat systems that would require introducing new training and change management needs to their full staff, they would adopt Aselo solely for their Ukrainian-speaking staff to handle Ukrainian and Russian-speaking callers to the child helpline. This actually gave our team more flexibility, as we were able to focus on building out new routing logic for the Ukrainian-specific service and spend less time on planning out how Aselo might fit in with existing counsellor workflows.

We were able to acquire and test dedicated Hungarian toll-free numbers, thanks to our partners at, that route directly to Kék Vonal counsellors logged into Aselo. When calling +36 80 984 590, users will be prompted with messages in Ukrainian letting them know if there are counsellors available on the line. It will also be possible for calls made to the existing 116 111 line in Hungary to be re-routed to the dedicated Ukrainian service line. For our chat solution, we translated our standard chat widget and engagement chatbot into both Ukrainian and Russian.  

As part of this collaboration, we also prioritized key feature development requested by the team at Kék Vonal, such as adding the ability for the child using our webchat widget to end their chat conversation with a counsellor.

Aselo webchat widget in English and Ukrainian

One of the key features of Aselo is the ability to customize the data fields counsellors use to capture information about the call. We implemented a data framework that mimics Kék Vonal’s existing standard Hungarian data collection framework so that data can be easily consolidated between Aselo and their existing databases. The implemented data customizations also easily map to Child Helpline International’s standard global data framework to streamline reporting key indicators regarding the crisis back to advocacy groups. 

With the support of Child Helpline International, UNICEF ECARO, Terre des Hommes and Børns Vilkår, Tech Matters is continuing to work with other helpline partners across Europe to explore how Aselo can help support counsellors responding to the Ukraine crisis. It is our hope that with these collaborations, our team can continue to build and deliver effective software that supports and strengthens the incredible work and dedication put forth by our nonprofit partners and their counselling staff in response to this global humanitarian crisis.

Dee Luo
Senior Product Manager
Tech Matters

This blog originally appeared on the Tech Matters website, 22 February 2023, and is reprinted here with the kind permission of the authors.

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