In a global setting where political leaders are talking about building walls, NaTakallam is building bridges.
In the summer of 2014 Aline Sara had just completed her masters in International Affairs at Columbia University and was looking for an affordable way to practice her Arabic—specifically, her native Lebanese regional dialect—from New York City. It was also at that time that Syrians, fleeing the violence from the brutal civil war, were pouring into Lebanon, where today, roughly 1 out of 4 people are Syrian.
Like most Syrians outside of the country, and notably the 5 million-plus who are living in neighboring countries, Syrians in Lebanon cannot easily get work permits, making their capacity to work and sustain a livelihood incredibly difficult. The same daily struggle with varying legal realities holds true for Venezuelans living in Argentina, people from Burundi living in Europe or the Middle East, or Yemenis displaced inside their own country, and millions of other displaced people in the world.
Aline thought of connecting her need to access conversational Arabic to that of displaced Syrians to access an income. She was joined by her former classmate, Reza Rahnema, himself, French-born, to Iranian parents, and with a background in economic and political development, and thus came to life the idea of NaTakallam, pioneering the concept of leveraging the digital economy and refugees’ language skills to provide language services to users worldwide, who, through their engagement, help support displaced persons’ livelihoods.
Thanks to our talented pool of conversation partners, we offer language sessions in French, Persian, Spanish, Kurdish and Armenian besides Arabic in multiple dialects.
Our team is based across the world, made of individuals with experience in economic and political development, conflict resolution, human rights, humanitarian affairs, linguistics, technology, finance, design and journalism.
Background in: Business Development, Social Entrepreneurship, Organisational Culture Languages spoken: English, Dutch, German and French Based: Between Middle East & Caucasus Loves: Enjoying the outdoors with fellow explorers, mango & breakfast
Background in: Human Rights, International Relations, Global Education and Languages Languages spoken: English, French, Arabic, Italian and some Russian Based: Paris, France Loves: Architectural photography and cinema
Background in: International Education and Education in Emergencies Languages spoken: English, and some Arabic, Armenian and Spanish Based: California & NYC Loves: Podcasts and multicultural children’s books
Background in: Software Engineering, Product Marketing and Design, Product Strategy Languages spoken: English, Yoruba, W. African Pidgin, some Mandarin Based: Boston Loves: 🏊🏿♂️🏃🏿♂️🚴🏿 🥁
Partners & Supporters
This Mother's Day, give the special women in your life the Gift of Conversation (or treat yourself) while supporting displaced mothers (& their little ones!) – available in 7 languages – NOW WITH 10% OFF.