Apr 01, 2019 2019-04-01
NaTakallam (Arabic for “we speak”) connects displaced persons with learners all over the world who want to practice their language skills or find out more about a different culture, and then compensates them for their work. NaTakallam was founded in 2015 when a Lebanese American graduate student at Columbia University was struggling to find someone with whom she could practice her conversational Arabic. She saw so many Syrians who were qualified and well educated but unemployed because of discrimination, or who weren’t legally allowed to work, so she brought together an informal network of friends who wanted to improve their language abilities and matched them with displaced persons whose native tongue was Arabic. Since then, NaTakallam has expanded to offer lessons in four languages and has hired displaced persons from more than 10 countries, including Syria, Iran, Venezuela, and the Democratic Republic of the Congo. In late 2017, it launched its K–12 program, which delivers language and cultural lessons in Arabic, Persian, Spanish, and French to students on platforms such as Skype and Zoom. Conversation sessions start at $12/hour.