Our first classroom session in Hawaii!

Our first school session of the academic year 2019-2020, with our Conversation Partner (CP) Tarek, was held in none other than… HAWAII!

It is said that the island is named after the legendary hero ‘Hawaiʻiloa’ from Hawaiian myths. Others speculate that the name derives from the Proto-Polynesian word ‘Sawaiki‘ to mean ‘homeland‘.

As we move into the new school year, authentic conversations around refugee issues and immigration are more important than ever. This year, we invite you to bring refugee voices directly into your classrooms with virtual programs from NaTakallam!

Are you a teacher, school, student or parent that would like to bring a one-of-a-kind experience to classrooms?

Thanks to partnerships with Qatar Foundation International, Georgetown University, and the University of Pennsylvania, full and partial scholarships are available for all programs led by a Conversation Partner (CP) from the Middle East!

AND we are offering a special $100 off sessions with our displaced Latin American Conversation Partners with the promotional code “hablamos” when you fill out the registration form.

Click here to read more on our NaTakallam classroom sessions!

Summer Drink Series: Agua de limón con chia

A refreshing summer drink packed with nutrients!

Long before chia seeds became a health trend, it has been a staple food for the Mayans & Aztecs since ancient times. In fact, in the Mayan language ‘chia’ means strength, & Aztecs considered the seeds more valuable than gold! Try out this simple lemon drink with chia seeds, or ‘agua de limón con chia‘ in Spanish!


  • 8 pieces of lime
  • 1 tablespoon of chia seeds
  • 1 liter of water
  • Sugar, to taste
  • Ice cubes, optional

Pre-soak the chia seeds in 2 cups of water until gelatinous. Cut the lemons and squeeze the juice to the cup of water and chia seeds. Add sugar to taste, and ice cubes if you wish. Serve cooled!

Source and image: https://us.kiwilimon.com/recipe/drinks/lemon-and-chia-water

The Women of NaTakallam

It’s March! And we are celebrating the Women of NaTakallam all month long.

In case you missed our posts on March 8th, International Women’s Day, meet a few of our phenomenal women conversation partners – or as we call them “CPs.”

You can learn a language with all three of these amazing women and so many more of our talented conversation partners. Stay tuned for more profiles as the month unfolds!

Sign up for sessions in Arabic, French, Persian or Spanish, here.

Do you want to celebrate the women in YOUR life? Why not try the Gift of Conversation.

For a fully structured Arabic option, don’t miss our Integrated Arabic Curriculum for Beginners.

We also offer programming in K-12 classrooms & universities, as well as translation services…all delivered by refugees and displaced persons!

In other women’s news…

Our CEO and Co-Founder Aline Sara was just selected as a finalist in the Cartier Women’s Initiative Awards. Read more about the initiative here.

Flashback: NaTakallam 2018

NaTakallam visits London! (February 2018)

Did you know that NaTakallam’s second highest number of users are UK-based?

In early 2018, we visited London to show some love in return.  The sold out event featured a live conversation session with two of our Syrian Conversation Partners, Shadi, calling in from Iraq, and Asalah, from Italy with the support of P21 Gallery, QFI and Al Fanar, who spoke about the importance of venture philanthropy in the Arab World.

NaTakallam visits classrooms worldwide… (March 2018)

And gets featured for it by the Nowhere Men!

From December-March 2018, QFI and British Council supported us in hosting sessions in classrooms across the world.

Persian and Spanish conversation sessions kick off! (Summer/Fall)

In line with our mission to support refugees and displaced communities worldwide, while listening to the interests of you, our supporters , we expanded our language offerings to include Persian and Spanish and increase our social impact by hiring displaced Iranians/Afghans as well as Venezuelans.

Stay tuned as over the next months, we look to bring in Central Americans on board to hear their stories, especially in light of the recent developments at the US border.

We’ll also launch French with Congolese and Burundian refugees next spring! Register your interest here.

NaTakallam highlighted by UNHCR!

Following a great video about one of our CPs in Beirut, Shadi and his sessions with Meg, in Lonon, UNHCR officially invited NaTakallam to join the #WithRefugees Coalition of organizations and companies working to support refugees and displaced persons.

NaTakallam Turned 3! (October 2018)

Under the umbrella of the WeWork Refugee Initiative and with the support of QFI, NaTakallam marked its three-year anniversary in NYC with over 250 attendees and live conversations with Shadi and Marianela from Syria and Venezuela, a marketplace of other refugee organizations, Middle Eastern and Latin American eats, and the most popular of it all: live Booza making!

NaTakallam disrupts Berlin! (November 2018)

Late November, NaTakallam was one of the only two refugee-centered startups on the main stage at this year’s TechCrunch Disrupt Berlin.
Read about our founder’s panel here.

Laudato si Challenge in Rome (December 2018)

Our co-founders and one of our Syrian Conversation Partners, Ghaith, presented NaTakallam among stakeholders, impact investors, and members of the clergy at the Vatican as finalists in the Laudato si Challenge along with great allies and partners including Tarjimly and Five One Labs!

Thanks for all your support…
none of this would have been possible without you!

See you in 2019!

NaTakallam’s Gift Guide for Language Learners & Language Lovers!

The season of giving is upon us!

Are you looking for a gift with impact? NaTakallam is an award-winning social enterprise that provides remote work opportunities for refugees and displaced persons in the language sector. Here are a few suggestions for your holiday shopping! 

**Now through the end of December, NaTakallam is running a Buy-One-Give-One special. For every gift you buy, we’ll donate an hour-long English lesson to a refugee, by a refugee. Your gift will make double the impact!

Gift of Conversation– For a language enthusiast

Is a friend or loved one learning a language? Give them the Gift of Conversation? NaTakallam offers online one-on-one lessons in Arabic, Persian, and Spanish with our conversation partners who are displaced persons or refugees. French to launch in Spring 2019. Starting at just $13/hour, packages are available for 1, 5 and 10 hours.

Integrated Arabic Curriculum for Beginners– For the Arabist

So…you’ve heard of it–that Arabic is almost impossible to learn, especially because it’s not just one language, but many as a result of it’s multiple dialects. Guess what? NaTakallam’s Integrated Arabic Curriculum combines both Modern Standard Arabic and the Levantine dialect. 

In this 25-hour one-on-one online language course, meet with a NaTakallam conversation partner to practice the writing and number systems and learn over 200 everyday words.

Tote Bag For a student

Students can carry their books around campus in style with our NaTakallam tote bag. They’ll be sure to get the conversation going. Yalla!

Mug For an early riser

There’s nothing better than pouring a cup of your favorite coffee or tea before sitting down for a session with one of our conversation partners. 

T-Shirt For a conversationalist

Does someone you know love to chat in Arabic? A NaTakallam t-shirt is the perfect daily reminder to start the conversation!

“Word of the Day” Postcards– To say thank you

Looking for a creative way to say thank you for all of your holiday gifts? Send your gratitude on a NaTakallam “Word of the Day” postcard- each pack has 10 unique Arabic words.

Are you feeling inspired? Feel free to combine any of the post options for a full or partial NaTakallam kit! Swing by the NaTakallam shop today…We offer free shipping within the US and UK. 

**Kindly note that orders must be placed by Dec. 20th to ensure delivery by Christmas for items that need shipments. 

Importance of Language

Visit to Ritsona Refugee Camp, Greece

Lydia Bassaly, Head of Recruitment and Translation/Interpretation Services.

“At first they were confused by the Egyptian dialect, but it didn’t take long till their smiles grew as they realized I was their avenue to the staff.”

After a visit to Ritsona Refugee Camp in mainland Greece, I realized the important role language plays in creating ease and communication between refugees and humanitarian workers.

I was invited to the site by Lighthouse Relief, a group of volunteers who aim to provide immediate relief to those arriving in Greece, with a special focus on the youth. Once I arrived, I met with the Program Manager of Lighthouse’s Youth Engagement Space (YES), a program that creates space for workshops and creativity among youth in Rtisona. Through my visit, I learned that children 12 and older weren’t able to attend school, which led to a real need for the space created by the YES program.

While walking through the camp,I began using my Arabic to communicate with the youth and kids. At first they were confused by the Egyptian dialect, but it didn’t take long till their smiles grew as they realized I was their avenue to the staff. “Could you please ask her if I can play with the guitar now?”, “can you ask her when I can bring my older brother?”, “can you ask what time the games will start?” There I was bombarded with questions, translating to the staff and back to the kids.

I didn’t expect my visit to bring a benefit in such a short time, but given that most of the staff at the site were Greek, American, Canadian, etc, none of them spoke Arabic fluently. I couldn’t begin to imagine how day-to-day operations took place with the little Arabic or little English either group knew. One of the many thoughts on mind while leaving was “what would it look like if the humanitarian workers, staff, and volunteers knew enough Arabic to make life just a little easier, just a little more comfortable, just a little more familiar to those they’re with everyday?”

World Refugee Day 2018: Final Fact


Myth: Refugees don’t make for good employees.

Fact: Reports show a company’s decision to hire refugees “makes sound economic sense” and yields great results.

The Tent Partnership for Refugees recently published the first report studying refugee employment. In it, Tent shows that hiring refugees is more than just a moral, humanitarian-minded decision; hiring refugees actually makes economic sense for several reasons. First, refugees who are finally able to be resettled have often spent years in camps or under-served urban areas without the ability or right to work. Once they arrive in a new country, they are eager to begin working which means they will be more flexible with their shifts and more enthusiastic than other employees. U.S. employers can also find solace as refugees go through the most extreme vetting and security checks. Additionally, refugees speak a foreign language which is a highly desired and useful skill for any company with global operations.

As many Western countries experience aging populations, refugee influxes provide a valuable source of human capital for labor shortages. For example, in the United States, 77% of refugees are of working age. Some estimates claim that by 2030, 20% of the U.S. population will be older than 65, and that the American workforce will be insufficient to replace these workers. Furthermore, the Tent report claimed that many businesses hiring refugees claimed that employee turnover rates were much lower among refugee employees – thus, saving businesses a lot of money.

NaTakallam aims to change the narrative around the refugee population, often seen as a burden rather than an asset. Being a refugee is not an exclusive identity – many of NaTakallam’s conversation partners and translators are former teachers, engineers, artists, and more. Many studies have shown that a lack of employment opportunities is the single greatest barrier to integration. For World Refugee Day, NaTakallam hopes that employers around the world will recognize the value of hiring refugees not just more moral reasons, but for economic ones as well.





WRD 2018: Fact #9


Myth: Most refugees arriving to the U.S. are from Middle Eastern countries.

Fact: The biggest arrivals to the U.S. are refugees from Myanmar & the DRC.

For a refugee, fleeing violence and prosecution, there are three durable solutions in the context of international law. The first is repatriation, meaning there is no longer threat in their home country and individuals are able to safely return. Asylum is the second, meaning that a refugee has traveled and made it to a country to apply for residency. The third is resettlement. Most refugees arriving to the United States go through the resettlement process, as they often cannot get there without going through the UNHCR’s official procedures. Every year, less than 1% of refugees get a chance at resettlement.

It is a common misconception that the only refugees being resettled to the United States are from Middle Eastern countries. In fact, the United States accepts a plurality of people from the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) and Myanmar/Burma. People from the DRC make up the largest nationality of refugees in 15 states as of 2017. As of 2017, more than 25% of refugees arriving in the U.S. are from South Asia, and more than 30% from sub-Saharan Africa. For example, 12.6% of refugees admitted to the United States were from Somalia between 2015 and 2017 – compared to only 10% from Syria.






WRD 2018: Fact #8


Myth: Refugees increase petty crimes.

Fact: Studies suggest refugees are less likely to engage in criminal behavior than native-born members of the host society.

Due to rising xenophobia, it has become a common belief that immigrants and refugees bring increased crime into their host countries, despite no evidence supporting these claims. In reality, studies consistently show that refugees are statistically less likely to engage in criminal behavior than native-born members of their host society. Regardless, in January of 2017, President Trump signed an executive order designating immigrants as a threat to national security due to all the supposed crimes they commit.

In the United States, for example, the Department of State’s Worldwide Refugee Processing System conducted a study to calculate the correlation between refugees and crime rates between 2006 and 2015. From the 10 cities in the United States that received the most refugees relative to size of the population, the study concluded that not only was there not an increase in crime, but nine out of the ten communities became considerably more safe in terms of violent and property crimes. Crime rates in Southfield Michigan, an area right outside of Detroit, dropped by 77.1%; in Decatur Georgia, an area right outside of Atlanta, dropped by 62.2%.

Every year refugees are less likely to be incarcerated than natives, with the gap widening each decade. Refugees have incarceration rates that are one-fifth to those who are natural born citizens. Not only do they commit less crime, it has become clear that refugees generally have a positive effect on communities. For example, they aid community redevelopment and rebuild local civil society in formenly decaying urban cores. In addition, immigrants and refugees contribute to economic prosperity.