Corona crisis: bear-hunting goes multilingual

A number of mums and dads from the Ghent area have seized upon the bear-hunting initiative to help non-Dutch speakers learn more about Belgium’s corona measures. To keep young children occupied on their walks people have been putting cuddly toys in their windows so that children can count them. 

In Gentbrugge and Merelbeke posters displaying bears with texts in over ten languages have now appeared.  The posters explain the purpose of the bear hunt but also that of the corona measures.

So far bear posters in eleven languages have been spotted.  In each language the most important basic measures taken to combat corona in this country are explained.

“We noticed how the bear hunt brought people together.  Without being in close proximity, neighbours are united” explains Michaël Mariën, who is one of the people behind the initiative.  “Either because they have gone a-bear-hunting or have placed cuddly toys in their window and are looking out for children’s reactions. We wish also to involve people who don’t speak our language well or well enough yet.”

Basic measures explained include hand-washing, contacting the elderly only by phone or online and other social distancing measures like standing 1.5 metres apart.

The initiative came about via the Facebook page Communicatiepro’s tegen #COVID19BE. People with different communicative and creative skills use this page to publicise measures aimed at combating corona.  Translators worked free of charge.  The posters were designed for free too and a website was set up.  The posters are available in Bulgarian, Brazilian, Portuguese and even Pashtu just to name a few languages. Other languages will be added soon.

You can print the poster via

Print the poster, get somebody to colour it and hang it in the window.  The people behind the initiative hope it will bring neighbourhoods together and create greater awareness of how to combat the virus.

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