A New York based start up is connecting displaced Syrians with students interested in learning the Arabic language, creating an innovative source of income for the refugees.
The company, NaTakallam (which means “we talk” in Arabic) organise paid, one-on-one Arabic language training on Skype or Whatsapp, to learners world over.
Most of the users are now in the US, where Arabic language studies is showing the highest growth rate among foreign languages.
The platform, developed by alumni of Columbia’s School of International and Public Affairs, also offers a chance for western world, where refugees and asylum seekers often get subjected to stereotyping, to get to know more about the culture and conditions in the Arab world.
Fifty-year-old Hannah Evans, from Toronto, US, says that while it helps her better a new languare, the platform also gives her a “chance to connect with a brave person who is starting life over again because of the war”
“It helps me understand the human impact of the Syrian conflict in a real way“ she says.
“ I do think people getting to know another language is a window into the world … the dynamic of one to one interaction is important, it’s about cultural and refugee awareness and intercultural understanding,” says Aline Sara, Co-founder, NaTakallam.