Startup of the Week: NaTakallam - Using the Power of Languages To Empower Displaced Refugees

Published June 20th, 2021 - 10:30 GMT
Startup of the Week: NaTakallam - Using the Power of Languages To Empower the Displaced Refugees
NaTakallam currently offers language learning courses in Arabic, Armenian, English, French, Kurdish, Spanish and Persian.

Have you ever thought about how over 80 million forcibly displaced people can find a sustainable source of income? Finding a job for people who flee wars and conflicts can be extremely challenging, and today with the pandemic ravishing global economies, it’s becoming harder than ever to secure jobs for this struggling population. Looking at the greener side, there are still people who are eager to explore and create innovative solutions like NaTakallam ("We Speak" in Arabic); the platform that uses the power of languages to empower the displaced refugees all over the world.

In the business world, it’s known that the most successful product/service is the one that provides a solution to a problem. And this is precisely how NaTakallam’s idea came to life. In 2014, Aline Sara was seeking a convenient way to practice her native Lebanese regional dialect from her home in New York, while on the other side of the world the number of Syrians fleeing the violent war was exponentially increasing. And it’s no secret that Syrians in Lebanon and neighboring countries cannot secure a work permit easily. As a result, the majority of them are deprived from work opportunities and sustainable income. 

Aline shared her thoughts about her desire to connect her need to access conversational Arabic, to that of the displaced Syrians to access income, with her former classmate Reza Rahnema. And together, they founded NaTakallam in 2015 where they leveraged the digital economy and refugees’ language skills to provide language services to users worldwide, who, through their engagement, help support displaced persons’ livelihoods.

Today, over 8,000 people have engaged in more than 30,000+ hours of NaTakallam sessions, and refugees and displaced people have generated over $800,000 through their individual language tutoring, guest speaking, translation and classroom work. NaTakallam has also partnered with over two hundred schools and universities worldwide. 

It’s worth mentioning that while the COVID-19 pandemic made most of the world draw to a halt, NaTakallam increased its impact on refugees, who saw their income increase by 30% in light of a surge in online education’s appeal to those under lockdown.

In addition to NaTakallam’s noble mission, the social startup supports other struggling communities like the LGBTQ community and the less privileged women around the world.
 

The platform currently offers language learning courses in Arabic, Armenian, English, French, Kurdish, Spanish and Persian. So if you’re interested in learning any of these languages, don’t hesitate to give NaTakallam a chance. Because by doing so, you’d be granting a displaced person a great opportunity.


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