Video chat arabic
Around a million and a half have come to Lebanon, where they now make up a full quarter of the country’s population.
Her startup officially launched as Na Takallam in October 2015, and since then, over 1,200 language learners in 80 countries have signed up for conversations, and it’s employed around 50 Syrians in 11 countries, but mostly in Lebanon.Another refugee in Lebanon earned over $1,500 in a month through Na Takallam.The refugees that Na Takallam employs are mostly very well educated–architects, engineers, doctors, nutritionists.The goal, Sara says, is to see every refugee conversation partner earning at least the minimum wage in whatever country they are living in.Regardless of where they are, refugees earn $10 per hour of conversation (the cost for Arabic learners is around $14 for an hour).They have no formal language instruction training, which, Sara says, is the point of Na Takallam–it’s meant to provide conversation, not a lesson.
When you sign up, you’re asked for your level of Arabic proficiency, but beginning students can also sign up.
And for the refugees, Na Takallam offers a path toward the minimum wage or more–which is particularly significant for refugees in Lebanon, who are often not allowed to work.
But when Sara sent a survey around the 55 refugees currently employed as “conversation partners” through Na Takallam in January, she learned that the most important aspect of the startup for them “is being connected to people around the world, making friends, and changing the often false and unfair narrative around what it means to be a refugee.”Since the Syrian Civil War began in 2011, nearly 5 million Syrians have been forced to flee from their home country.
Every time she speaks at a conference, the humanitarian-worker-turned-entrepreneur Aline Sara asks her audience to close their eyes and think of the word “refugee.” What comes to mind for almost everybody, she tells Through her startup, Na Takallam, Sara wants to shift that narrative and offer those same refugees–many of whom are, due to their circumstances, unable to work–a way to earn a living and connect with people around the globe.
Na Takallam (which means “we talk” in Arabic), which launched in 2015, connects Syrian refugees with Arabic learners, who pay for hour-long chats held over Skype or Whatsapp to improve their conversational skills.
But once she arrived in Beirut, “I was just watching this situation unfold, and it was heartbreaking,” she says.