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NaTakallam: The Language-Learning Platform Shifting the Narrative Around Refugees

April 24, 2023
Photo credit: NaTakallam Facebook

South-African comedian, author, and television host Trevor Noah said recently: “anyone could become a refugee. It’s a thing that happens to you; it’s not who you are.” A social enterprise that is actively reshaping the refugee narrative and dispelling the negative connotations surrounding the term is NaTakallam. The award-winning digital platform hires refugees of different nationalities (and their host community members) to work as teachers and translators. Harnessing the digital economy as a tool to provide a sustainable income for these refugees, NaTakallam — which loosely translates to “we speak” in Arabic — is a purpose-driven online platform with a human-centric approach to its services. It fosters human connection and cultural exchange in that it links displaced individuals with students virtually, granting them a space to pass on their language expertise as well as their heritage thus centering the voices that are rarely heard in the media when covering the refugee crisis. Since its establishment, Natakallam has connected over 12,000 learners with teachers through one-on-one online sessions, resulting in upwards of USD 2.5 million (EGP 76.4 million) in self-earned income for displaced persons and their host communities. Founded in 2015,…

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