In the streets of Cairo, Casablanca and Beirut people speak a different Arabic to the classical language taught in universities and institutes. All across the Arabic speaking world, regional dialects are how people communicate everyday.
Language School NaTakallam, meaning ‘we speak’, pairs displaced persons with learners around the world for language practice over Skype.
The platform offers affordable, flexible, tailored language practice with native speakers for language learners while also providing a valuable income source to displaced people in Lebanon, Argentina, Turkey, Yemen, Iraq, Burundi, Egypt, France, Brazil, Italy and Germany, plus other countries.
Lebanon has become home to about 1.5 million Syrian refugees and it’s estimated that almost all of those working in the country do so for low wages and in exploitative conditions.
At NaTakallam, language is life-saving. It is a way for refugees to support themselves and their families. Set up in July 2015, there were initially just six teachers for around 25 students. Quickly garnering recognition for its work, this small operation is taking its place in a community of voices thinking differently about how to support refugees.
NaTakallam has also launched virtual interpretation services. Experienced interpreters from refugee backgrounds offer live simultaneous interpretation, available in English to and from Arabic, French, and Spanish. They offer documents, apps and web pages translation in English to and from Arabic, French, Kurdish, Pashto, Persian (Farsi/Dari), Portuguese, Somali, Spanish, Tigrinya, Turkish and Urdu, audio and video content and virtual guest speaker sessions.
Thousands of students in 100+ schools worldwide have used NaTakallam for powerful, empathy-building sessions, and NaTakallam partners with universities to bring real-life conversations, language learning and cultural exchange to the classrooms.
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Aline Sara and Reza Rahnema, Project Founders