NaTakallam

NaTakallam (“we speak” in Arabic) recruits and hires displaced Syrians as language partners and connects them to Arabic learners around the world, providing affordable intercultural and language exchange by leveraging available online communication technologies.
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Year launched: 
2015

CEI Plus Status

Program Results Status
Monitoring and Evaluation Reporting

Location Data

Geography type: 
Additional country(ies) of operation: 
Program Description: 

NaTakallam (“we speak” in Arabic) pairs displaced Syrians with Arabic learners around the world for language practice over Skype. The platform offers affordable, flexible, tailored Arabic practice with native speakers to language learners.

On the other end, NaTakallam offers a valuable income source to displaced Syrians mostly in Lebanon, but also in Turkey, Egypt, Armenia, France, Brazil and Germany. Alongside language instruction, users and Syrian conversation partners engage in an intercultural exchange as well, frequently developing transatlantic friendships between worlds that are often polarized in the media and political spheres.

To date, some 35 Syrian conversation partners and over 950 individuals worldwide have engaged in NaTakallam sessions. Arabic has long been popular among students, members of the Arab Diaspora interested in maintaining their spoken skills, and professionals working in or on the Middle East. In the US alone, Arabic’s popularity, has increased two-fold over the past decade, making it the fastest-growing area of foreign language study in the country. As conflict continues to affect the Middle East, the need for Arabic speakers is becoming more urgent. Moreover, NaTakallam creates an opportunity for people to directly contribute to enhance the situation of displaced individuals. NaTakallam is growing rapidly- London-based venture philanthropy fund Al Fanar has invested $55,000 USD to support efforts to scale the model. The program is currently looking into expanding its services to other languages (Farsi in the works) and also including other refugee communities (Iraqis, Palestinians, Yeminis, and others).

Highlighting Innovation: 
Unlike other language platforms, NaTakallam hires refugees/displaced persons specifically for language teaching, alleviating the struggle of a community in need all while providing affordable intercultural and language exchange using ICT technology.
Key Challenges: 
As with most organizations, we are struggling to raise funds. Additionally, we are working between multiple countries and jurisdictions with individuals facing complex immigration status regulations.