Social Impact

Further information pertaining to refugees, immigrants, victims of conflict, and other social issues.

woman looking out window at snow

Coping with Compassion Fatigue: Strategies and Insights

Reading Time: 9 minutes

Balancing Opposite Worlds: Life During Global Crises

On a recent day in January, I woke up to a world made white with new-fallen snow. I checked messages on my phone while snuggling with my toddler under the warm covers, then sent him off to daycare with his dad, made myself a mug of gingerbread spice tea, and sat down at my laptop for another marketing meeting that had been taken over by the genocide in Gaza.

On my break, I posted about the snow on Facebook. I posted about Gaza. I posted about how excited I was for the new vacuum cleaner I’d gotten for Christmas and how bizarre it felt to reach that stage of life where a new vacuum cleaner was worth getting excited about. And I wondered if anyone would take my posts about Gaza seriously when I was also posting about vacuum cleaners. And what kind of person was I anyway, to be excited about a new vacuum cleaner when body bags the size of my toddler were piling up? And yet I knew that if I thought too long about those body bags, I’d crawl back into my warm bed and refuse to come out. Posting about the vacuum cleaner made me happy. And besides, if I didn’t post about anything but Gaza, how many of my Facebook friends would unfollow me and never see any of it?

After all, I myself had started avoiding social media posts about Gaza.

When the war started, I sought out the feeds that showed what was happening in Gaza, convinced that if enough people saw them the madness would stop. Then I stopped sharing them. Then I started scrolling past them as fast as possible. It was hormones, I told myself; as a mother, my brain just wasn’t structured to handle photos of dead children. Then the number of dead would tick up another digit and I’d share another headline, leave another message for the White House, draft another newsletter, and run the vacuum cleaner.

The Merriam-Webster’s Dictionary defines “compassion fatigue” as “apathy or indifference toward the suffering of others as the result of overexposure to tragic news stories and images and the subsequent appeals for assistance.” Coming up on Day 100 of the war on Gaza, I was suffering from a serious case of it. I didn’t want to think about millions of people starving while bombs rained down on their heads — I wanted to hug my toddler, drink tea, and watch the snow fall. How would making myself miserable help anyone? I’d already donated what I could afford and left messages with both my senators, but the bombs were still falling.

A Google search for “how to avoid compassion fatigue” turns up a host of articles, most of them directed at medical professionals, caretakers, and educators. The tips mostly seem to involve leaving work’s problems at work, practicing self-care, and relying on colleagues for support. But no matter how much suffering they encounter, a nurse can go to sleep each day knowing they have delivered pain relief or made a sick child smile. It was a lot harder to tell myself I had made a difference for Gaza. There’s not much on dealing with compassion fatigue when your job is simply marketing language services — even services delivered by refugees.

How do you avoid compassion fatigue when you’re just trying to be a decent human being while remaining sane?

Mari Andrew’s Wisdom: Poetry for Difficult Times

Comfort and counsel can come from surprising places, and a few weeks ago, a Facebook memory brought back a certain poem: “I am washing my face before bed while a country is on fire. It feels dumb to. It feels dumb not to. It has never been this way, and it has always been this way. Someone has always clinked a cocktail glass in one hemisphere as someone loses a home in another while someone falls in love in the same apartment building where someone grieves. The fact that suffering, mundanity, and beauty coincide is unbearable and remarkable.”

I first encountered these powerful words in the opening days of the war on Ukraine, and at the time I think I assumed they had been written for that occasion. After Google failed me on compassion fatigue, I tried the opening lines of this poem and found the whole text, as well as the author Mari Andrew’s own reflections on its writing. To my surprise, it wasn’t about Ukraine at all; it was written in reference to the literal wildfires that had consumed the country of Australia in January 2020. (“How is a person supposed to do ordinary things like fall in love when a quick phone scroll is both advertising discount designer socks and informing me that 12 million acres have burned?” she asks.) But the words, the author said, had carried her through the ensuing Covid pandemic and beyond for the same reasons they continue to circulate on social media today: I am not the only one feeling trapped between the horrific headlines, the vacuum cleaner, and the new-fallen snow. We are all struggling.

At the same time, I realized that I had never actually seen the entire poem. It’s usually the opening lines that get shared online because those are the lines that convey the emotion without making reference to specific circumstances. And yet Andrew isn’t just pouring out her heart with this poem; she’s also working toward solutions. “I despair with an exhale, then I refuse to despair, with an inhale. … ‘I must choose between despair and energy—I choose the latter.’ — Keats. What does it look like to state in the midst of smoke: I choose energy? For starters, I choose to finish washing my face. Then…” Andrew goes on to elaborate a list of concrete actions she is taking: eating less meat, buying new music, keeping money in her pocket to give away to someone who needs it, buying from an Aboriginal-owned business and attending a birthday party.

What’s interesting about this list is that not all of these activities had direct bearing on the wildfires. Eating less meat is, of course, an established way to combat climate change, and one can see how buying from Aboriginal-owned businesses becomes doubly important when Aboriginal communities are burning. But why does she decide to give $5 to a needy stranger? How does celebrating a friend’s birthday help? “I choose to do the things that I may think are too insignificant to matter, because sometimes protesting is an act of grieving and small choices toward energy keep me from despair,” she writes, “because grief and celebration often happen in the same night.”

I believe that all of us, whether this year’s fight be climate change, Covid, Ukraine, Congo, Gaza or whatever 2024 and 2025 have in store, can benefit from Mari Andrew’s wisdom. In that vein, I’m going to finish by sharing a few practical ideas for combating compassion fatigue that I have developed over the past few months, as we all struggle to be decent human beings while staying sane.

Combatting Compassion Fatigue: Practical Tips

  1. Continue to do the things that bring you joy. Go to the birthday parties. Drink the tea. Hug your children, and watch the new-fallen snow. You are not helping the people of Gaza or anywhere else by adding to the world’s sorrow. You are not betraying them by feeling happy. Your emotions make no difference to Gaza one way or another, so you might as well laugh with those who laugh.
  2. Make space to mourn with those who mourn. Reach out to those who are hurting. Take time to send a message to one of NaTakallam’s Palestinian Language Partners or the countless other Gazans who continue to cling to the Internet as their only window out of a living hell. Let them know you are thinking of them, or praying for them, or fighting for them. Make sure they remember that they are not alone.
  3. Set up a recurring donation. Instead of thinking in terms of a single grand gesture, then feeling frustrated because the $500 you emptied from your vacation account (or didn’t) isn’t even a drop in the bucket of Gaza’s need, decide what you can afford to give on a monthly basis — even if it’s just $10 — but keep doing so. Most of us get income on a regular basis, and most charities make it easy for you to have regular donations deducted from your bank account. After you’ve made your decisions and set up the automation, don’t spend more mental energy on it. Not sure where to donate? We recommend Save the Children, Doctors Without Borders, Tech for Palestine, and Jewish Voices for Peace, or you could donate to this fundraiser to support NaTakallam Language Partner Shahd, who lives in Rafah and whose family is currently sheltering several others who have lost their homes.
  4. Make decisions in advance about your spending habits. Agonizing over whether you’re a terrible person every time you buy a latte or a new music album is just going to make you avoid giving altogether. Instead, after you’ve set up your recurring charitable donation, decide on two implementable changes to your everyday shopping habits. This can involve choosing to buy less or shop elsewhere — such as by participating in the Boycott, Divest, and Sanctions movement — or patronizing Palestinian businesses such as those listed in our 2023 Impactful Gift Ideas. Making the decision now will save you from worrying later on. In my case, seeing our local supermarket chain on the BDS list was the push my family needed to finally commit to shopping at at the organic supermarket instead. I like that by doing so we can contribute to two causes at once.
  5. Set a reminder on your phone for one weekly action. This can be attending a protest, calling your senators, writing a letter to the editor of your local newspaper, asking a major company to divest from the military, or any other action you choose — what matters is doing something. If you don’t have time to attend a protest every Saturday, you can still take two minutes to email a corporation. Once you’ve decided which actions to take, get everything set up. Put your elected representatives’ numbers into the contacts list on your phone (they should probably be there anyway). Write out a short script for yourself — your message should take no longer than 30 seconds to deliver. Bookmark a few “letter to the editor” forms on both major and local newspapers. Or save an email template asking for divestments.

More Preparation = Less Energy Needed Later

For all of these tips, you’ll probably notice a trend: the more you prepare now, the less effort you’ll need to expend later when you’re feeling less motivated. Emotions can be powerful as agents that drive us to act, but it’s our actions that matter.

And now I’d like to close with another bit of poetry: “Do not be daunted by the enormity of the world’s grief. Do justly, now. Love mercy, now. Walk humbly, now. You are not obligated to complete the work, but neither are you free to abandon it.” American Rabbi Rami Shapiro is the author of this famous passage, paraphrasing the Mishnah. For me, that last line has become key when fighting off compassion fatigue. I am not going to save those children in Gaza. The fate of Gaza rests in hands far larger than mine. I am only called to do as much as I can do. But I will do that much.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Mikaela Bell is a freelance editor and content writer with a background in anthropology and linguistics. An American based in France, she is also fond of reading, cooking, studying languages, fibercrafts and Irish stepdance.

ABOUT THE EDITOR: Kelsey Holmes, NaTakallam’s Marketing & Communications Manager, has a background in international development, politics, social impact, and entrepreneurship, Based in Paris, you’ll also find her exploring the outdoors, enjoying creative hobbies like pottery and painting, and discovering new talent at Paris’s music venues.

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large Palestinian flag being shaken

The Origins and Meaning of Intifada

Reading Time: 3 minutes

“Intifada” (إنتفاضة) is a term we often hear in slogans related to Palestinian resistance movements, the most famous and controversial being “globalize the intifada,” but what exactly is the meaning of intifada?

The word comes from the Arabic word “nafaDa” (نفض) which is a verb meaning “to shake the dust off something.” It could be used literally as “shaking [the dust] off the carpets” (نفض السجّاد) or figuratively, as “shaking off one’s laziness,” (نفض غُبار الكسل), or “being finished or rid of something” (سَئِم من المسألة، فقرّر نفض يدَيه منها; “He was fed up with the whole affair, so he decided to dust it from his hands.”) A similar sentiment is conveyed by the English expression, itself of ancient Hebrew origin, of “shaking the dust of something or someone from one’s feet.” As a related noun, “intifada” means “tremor, a shudder or a shiver.”

The First Palestinian Intifada: A Turning Point

It was in 1952 that the meaning of “intifada” took on its modern, political overtone of a “Middle East uprising,” when a series of protests shook the then-kingdom of Iraq in an attempt to force the king’s abdication in favor of a republic. It was then applied to Israeli-Palestinian conflict history when the first major Palestinian uprising against Israeli occupation started, in 1987. Up until that point, there had been no conscious, organized resistance movement against the occupation. The First Palestinian Intifada was the result of Palestinian recognition — led largely by women and students — that they would have to take their future into their own hands and could no longer wait for the international community to intervene on their behalf. Activists at that time chose the word “intifada” because it implied resistance that was aggressive but nonviolent. Palestinians were shaking off the dust of the occupation.

Media Influence on Intifada Perception

In her book A Quiet Revolution: The First Palestinian Intifada and Nonviolent Resistance, historian and activist Mary Elizabeth King largely blames the media for shifting the meaning of “intifada” in the Western mind and possibly even contributing to the escalating violence, detailing how international TV crews would avoid coverage of peaceful protests but focused in on rock-throwers and then the increasingly militant actions taken in response to heavy-handed Israeli reprisals. By the time the First Intifada ended in 1993, “intifada” was no longer associated with non-violence; the ground was thus laid for the Second Intifada, which arose from the failure of the Oslo Accords and lasted from 2000 to 2005, involving indisputable terrorist activities like suicide bombings and rocket attacks. Both uprisings were characterized by a heavy loss of life on the Israeli side and roughly three times as many losses on the Palestinian side.

The Second Palestinian Intifada had a profound impact on Palestinian-Israeli relations, contributing to a shift in Israeli attitudes and more relevance for Hamas, with increased skepticism toward the peace process and the two-state agreement.

Modern Misapplications of “Intifada”

On December 5, 2023, the presidents of Harvard, MIT, and the University of Pennsylvania were called into a hearing of the U.S. Congress to discuss allegations of growing antisemitism on their campuses as a result of the War on Gaza. During that hearing, Rep. Elise Stefanik of New York equated chants of “intifada” with a call for genocide against Jews. While the rise of Hamas and its terrorism cannot be denied, the term “intifada” significantly predates it. By no means is intifada a call to genocide or indiscriminate violence against Jews or, for that matter, Israelis.

The discussion and subsequent uproar over the presidents’ responses underline the importance of an accurate understanding of this controversial term. Given the gravity of the current situation in Palestine, it’s time to shake off our biases and ensure that our discourse is guided by integrity in our communications, informed by a sound knowledge of history.

woman waving Palestinian flag and making peace sign

Photo by Idriss Belhamadia

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Mikaela Bell is a freelance editor and content writer with a background in anthropology and linguistics. An American based in France, she is also fond of reading, cooking, studying languages, fibercrafts and Irish stepdance.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Alice Zanini is a copywriting intern at NaTakallam. She is currently pursuing her bachelor’s degree in linguistics and Middle Eastern studies. Her research focus is on sociopolitical and sociolinguistic issues in modern Turkey and the Persian-speaking world.

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New Year's resolutions

Five New Year’s Resolutions with Social Impact

Reading Time: 3 minutes

Now that 2023 has come to a close, it’s a habit for many to reflect on the past year and think ahead to the future we want to build — to the changes we want to see in our lives. Many New Year resolutions focus on the individual, but living in communities compels us to remember that we should also work constantly toward our common future. We need to continuously reexamine the impact we have on the world. To that end, we’ve compiled a list of five New Year’s resolutions with social impact.

Here at NaTakallam, we firmly believe in the individual’s power to make a difference through everyday actions. So this year, we’re suggesting a few social impact resolutions.

1. Active allyship and advocacy for the final and permanent self-determination of the Palestinian people — and the sustained liberation of all those facing systems of oppression.

As we come into 2024, we are restating our commitment to the Palestinian cause. Let this be the year when we all engage in advocacy, information, donations and education to finally end the violence in Gaza and the Occupied West Bank. More than that, 2024 should be the year we call, actively, for an end to oppression and breaking into liberation as a global collective.

2. Doubling down on a commitment to self-education and the sharing of what we’ve learned.

Reading a book, watching a documentary, visiting a museum, having a conversation — all these enhance our understanding of the world, expand our horizons and turn us into more aware individuals. Sharing them with family and friends in turn can create a ripple effect and transform our consciousness from individual to collective.

3. Using money (and time) intentionally.

Whether we like it or not, money is power, and the way we decide to use it is political. This year, are you ready to spend more time looking into the hidden cost of things we’re used to buying? How much do your purchases comply with your ethical standards? While we may think that one individual’s actions may not hold much power, it is precisely this mentality that powers unethical companies. And of course, while it can be difficult or downright impossible to achieve 100% ethical consumption in our current global society, we can always be looking for ways to improve on the status quo. Reexamining our spending will also require an investment of time and energy — but we research all kinds of questions on our phones every day. Why not make this one of them? As the French say, “Beaucoup de gouttes font un océan. (Many drops make an ocean.)”

With the current siege on Gaza and other humanitarian crises overwhelming the humanitarian sector, financial support for emergency aid — as well as more long-term peace-building projects — can be a lifeline for organizations relying on external funding. NaTakallam’s co-founder Aline Sara has compiled a list of organizations that are active in Gaza and need your support. And if you aren’t able to donate money, volunteering time can be a wonderful and enriching alternative.

4. Practicing kindness and community care.

Simple acts of kindness can create waves of positivity. This year, let’s all commit to being more compassionate in our daily interactions, whether it’s by offering a helping hand, a kind word or a smile. When we care for those around us, our world — and theirs — changes for the better.

5. Learning a new language.

While learning a new language is a common resolution, we may forget that it’s a journey that goes beyond grammar and vocabulary; it’s about connecting with other cultures and perspectives through their own tongue. This endeavor fosters empathy and broadens our understanding of the world, making us more open and accepting people. NaTakallam’s mission goes beyond creating opportunities for high-quality virtual language exchange: We strive to connect individuals culturally and emotionally, to tear down barriers and create community.

Do any of these resolutions pique your interest? What else can you come up with? Let us know in the comments, and let’s commit to building our collective future together!

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Aline Sara is the co-founder and CEO of NaTakallam, the idea of which occurred during the height of the Syrian refugee crisis in 2014. The American-born daughter of displaced Lebanese parents, she splits her time between Paris and New York City and works tirelessly for refugee rights and global peace-building.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Federica Ballardini is currently studying politics and geography at the University of Taiwan while working as PR and Grants Project Manager for NaTakallam. In addition to learning languages, she loves cappuccino, bouldering and maps!

ABOUT THE EDITOR: Kelsey Holmes, NaTakallam’s Marketing & Communications Manager, has a background in international development, politics, social impact, and entrepreneurship, Based in Paris, you’ll also find her exploring the outdoors, enjoying creative hobbies like pottery and painting, and discovering new talent at Paris’s music venues.

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Teens of Color Abroad

Study abroad made more accessible: NaTakallam’s partnership with Teens of Color Abroad

Reading Time: 4 minutes

The pandemic transformed our world in a multitude of ways. One of COVID-19’s more positive aspects was the unprecedented access to digital education; from shifting classrooms towards e-learning, to gaining human connection via virtual exchanges. This digital transformation set the scene for an out-of-the-box idea – a virtual study abroad opportunity!

As classrooms went virtual, so did one brilliant organization: Teens of Color Abroad (TOCA). Its founder, Lamar Shambley, launched the award-winning non-profit organization in 2018 in order to provide global language-learning and cultural exchange opportunities for high school students of color in the U.S. With its in-person educational programs – now virtually available, too – TOCA aims to confront the racial disparities that prevail in language-learning and studying abroad. By addressing the underrepresentation of African-American students in study abroad programs, TOCA creates pathways for high school students to become involved in international study. TOCA cultivates the next generation of globally-conscious youth of color with full language immersion study abroad experiences.

Shambley was inspired to start a program of his own based on his educational background and personal experience, as well as those of his students, having taught Spanish for eight years to high schoolers in New York. Despite having maintained straight A’s in his Spanish courses, he neither had a passport, nor was able to afford to study in a different country. Shambley relied on meeting virtual friends in chat rooms as a means to practice his conversational Spanish. It wasn’t until college that he finally received support from an academic advisor, who saw his passion and potential. Shambley shared that, “it took one educator to knock down the barriers that had precluded [him] from accessing international opportunities.” He further explained that thanks to the financial aid offered, he was able to secure his first passport and the chance to travel to the Dominican Republic. It was from this experience that Shambley learned he wanted to do the same for other students like himself.

Back in 2020, as TOCA was preparing to send its first group of students to Spain for a summer program, the pandemic broke out, turning the whole world upside down. Shambley recalled how they “were forced to think outside of the box” amidst the lockdowns and travel restrictions, while staying true to their mission. That was when they joined forces with NaTakallam, along with the support of our long-standing partner, Qatar Foundation International, to create TOCA Online

In response to the ongoing pandemic, Teens of Color Abroad (TOCA) launched TOCA Online, a virtual language learning and cultural exchange program where U.S. high school students study Arabic, Spanish, or French, with NaTakallam’s refugee language partners based around the world.

Since its launch, the program has enabled nearly 300 students from 30 states across the U.S. to enroll in the virtual language learning and cultural exchange program, which now included Arabic, Spanish and French, with fully-funded scholarships thanks to Qatar Foundation International. As part of the immersion, TOCA has hosted virtual cooking classes with NaTakallam language partners, where students were introduced to dishes from around the world, and Fresh Fridays – hosted on Twitch – where a DJ showcased songs from different countries, “leading listeners on a musical journey across borders.”

When asked about his proudest moments so far, Shambley recalled how he was contacted by a parent to share that her “daughter [had] begun studying languages in college after her TOCA Online experience”. He illustrated that through writing recommendation letters, TOCA Online has led to some of its students to be accepted into their dream colleges and universities. In fact, data from the initiative’s pre- and post-program services show that by the end of the program, 96% of students “show interest in learning more about the way of life in different countries,” and 98% are “keen to explore other cultures’ traditions.”

This summer, TOCA was thrilled to host its very first in-person language immersion program in Spain. The students engaged in over 30 hours of small group language trainings and participated in culturally immersive activities, such as the experience of a homestay with a local family. The school in which TOCA students studied, was the same one Shambley attended during his time abroad in college! This full-circle moment was particularly special to Shambley. 

TOCA and NaTakallam’s ongoing partnership is a unique one. While one addresses equitable opportunities for students of color, the other provides employment opportunities for refugees and displaced persons in the language sector. Both organizations illustrate the power that language and conversation have; to form deeper human connections which transcend borders in spite of any circumstances. Furthermore, both TOCA and NaTakallam combat stereotypes and change the limited narratives surrounding marginalized communities.

As the post-pandemic world resumes and classrooms return to in-person modes of instruction, TOCA and NaTakallam continue to find even more creative ways to make language-learning more accessible and impactful than ever.

Are you a globally-minded U.S. high school student of color interested in learning Spanish, French, or Arabic? We invite you to apply to TOCA Online! Keep a close eye on application and scholarship deadlines.

If you are an educator, please help us to widely spread the word.

Stay in the loop by following TOCA on Instagram, Facebook, Twitter and TikTok.

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Refugees are Superheroes. Learn languages with them

Refugees are Superheroes. Learn languages with them!

Reading Time: 8 minutes100 million displaced – we marked World Refugee Month in June with this record-high number estimated by UNHCR. That’s more than the populations of Australia, France, and Costa Rica combined.

In fact, if being displaced was a nationality, it would make up the 14th most populous country in the world. This month, Al Jazeera declared the fastest-growing refugee crises of our time since World War II.

But numbers tend to drown the stories and one’s capacity to fully grasp what such a figure means. When or if we do, we tend to feel overwhelmed and somewhat paralyzed.

This month, we’re going beyond just numbers: we are focusing on positive stories around displacement, of loss and challenges, of hope and a#SecondChance – and NaTakallam’s role in the making.

Through these stories, we hope to suggest practical ways of making an impact, notably through your choice of language learning or language services.

At NaTakallam, we see refugees as superheroes, and we want the whole world to learn from them.

______________________________________

 

 

Meet Saeed, from Syria.


Current location
: Brazil
Favorite dish: Shawarma and Shakriyeh
Former profession: Manager of a tourism company
Teaching: Arabic with NaTakallam since 2015.

Hear his story: I’m originally from Damascus, Syria, where I managed a tourism company. Due to the conflict, I had to leave Syria in 2012, and I traveled through Lebanon, Turkey, Morocco, and finally, to Brazil.

In my seven years of teaching Arabic with NaTakallam, I’ve been able to make many friends from all over the world. I finally got my Brazilian citizenship last year and I was able to see my family again while attending a workshop with NaTakallam in Lebanon.

This year, I’m traveling to Turkey to meet one of my students in person, and get engaged to my fiancée whom I met through working with NaTakallam! I’m also going to Greece with a team from “Doctors without Borders” to help refugees in Lesbos.

NaTakallam gave me a chance to show the whole world that we can do so many things and that we are all human in the end.

 

Meet Leila, from Iran.

 

Current location: Germany
Former profession: Actress and a Social Media Community Engagement Specialist
Favorite dish: Ghormeh-Sabzi
Teaching: Persian with NaTakallam since 2020.

Hear her story: My husband and I were forced to flee Mashhad, Iran, in 2015 when he was arrested for DJing at mixed parties (both illegal in Iran), and faced a severe penalty. For three years, we lived in Greece, hopping from one refugee camp to another. My background is in computer science but during my time in Greece, I leveraged my love for performance to make some pocket money. I got the chance to work with visual artist Olga Stefatou on an art project that celebrates the individuality of female refugees and asylum seekers. But we sensed there was no real future ahead of us in Greece.

While we managed to get to Germany, we spent three more years living in six refugee camps in different cities, under-resourced shared apartments, and even a converted shipping container. It was extremely difficult and dehumanizing as we are not allowed to work or study, just waiting and hoping our status will change.

I began teaching Farsi through NaTakallam as a source of income. I’m really inspired by my students – their commitment to learning a new language motivates me to learn German, to be able to restart my life here soon. One of my students even traveled to Germany to visit me!

Today, my dream is to help other refugees as a social worker. Everyone deserves a second chance.

 

Meet Sayed, from Afghanistan.

 

Current location: Indonesia
Former profession: Interpreter and Translator
Favorite dish: Mantu and Qabuli-Palaw
Teaching: Persian with NaTakallam since 2019.

Hear his story: 34 years back, I was born in Afghanistan but I don’t want to say that I belong to a limited place or country. We all migrate to different places for various reasons and ways. I refugeed twice because of security issues. Once when I was child of 9, I fled to Iran, and later on to Indonesia, as a refugee in 2013.

I fled Afghanistan again because I studied French language and literature, worked with ISAF/ NATO and another French NGO for education, helping to build schools and create educational materials – which was criminalized under the Taliban.

I journeyed through India to Indonesia in 2013, only to be detained and behind bars for two years. Exactly like a prisoner, for the crime of being a refugee.

And there’s migrating too – the artistic way, this couldn’t have happened without NaTakallam. Working with this beautiful organization gives me the opportunity to migrate and virtually travel around the world, learn about new cultures, exchange ideas, and share the real experiences of refugees.

NaTakallam is a door of hope and dignity; a home where I can exhale the pains of being forced to leave family and dreams; currently in Indonesia, we are not allowed to work, access formal education, healthcare or travel within the country.

 

Meet Yaroslavna, from Ukraine.

 

Current location: Ukraine
Former profession: English Teacher
Favorite dish: Baked potatoes
Teaching: Ukrainian and Russian with NaTakallam since 2022

Hear her story: I lost all of the people I thought I had. I was born in independent sovereign Ukraine. I’ve always been Ukrainian even though I spoke Russian. Today’s Russia/Ukraine war really had its beginnings in 2014. My hometown Donetsk got seized, and some locals even welcomed and were eager to be part of Russia.

The war left me no choice but to escape to Kyiv. Now I remain here with some of my family members, trying to look forward to the future. The war left no safe place in my country. Every Ukrainian has been affected by it.

During these challenging times, NaTakallam has been a beacon of hope, with unconditional support since the day I met them. Working at NaTakallam has allowed me to provide for my family as well as reconnect with a part of myself I thought I had lost in the war. This is what helps me to move on with my life at the moment – the NaTakallam community, sympathetic students learning Ukrainian or Russian language.

I now look forward to seeing my country rise from its ashes again. With the help of the world, I know we can win.

 

Meet Ghaith, from Syria.

 

Current location: Italy
Former profession: Journalist
Favorite dish: Kibbeh
Teaching: Arabic with NaTakallam since 2015

Hear his story: I’m originally from Hama, Syria. In 2013, I fled the Syrian army while I was recovering from a shrapnel injury. I did what seemed like the best option at the time and fled to Lebanon. But the Lebanese authorities told me to leave Lebanon within one week.

Imagine yourself in a country that is not yours, a stranger, you own nothing, you cannot work and you have no right to do so just because you are a refugee, and, at the same time, you cannot return to your country because you are considered a “traitor”, just because you refused to participate in the killing of your own countrymen.

Then suddenly, someone comes along to help you work remotely, without any problems and without putting you at risk – someone who allows you to live in dignity without needing a grant from anyone.

This is what NaTakallam has done for me, and this is what every refugee needs, someone who believes in their ability and that they can make something instead of waiting for others. NaTakallam gave me an avenue through which I could earn a living – something that was almost impossible in my situation.

In 2016, my NaTakallam student-turned-friend connected me with an organization that helps resettle refugees in Italy. The organization allowed me to move and start a new life in Padua, Italy, where I am pursuing a bachelor’s degree in Political Science at the University of Padua. And last summer, I started a full-time job as a news editor!

To me, NaTakallam is like a window to the world. You just need a connection.

______________________________________

Refugees are mothers, fathers, sisters, brothers, children… and superheroes! This World Refugee Month and beyond, we hope that you consider choosing NaTakallam for your language needs. With 100+ million displaced, creative, tangible and sustainable ways to support refugees are critical.

Contribute to more #successstories and #secondchances for refugees, displaced persons, and conflict-affected individuals with NaTakallam by:

1. Signing up for your favourite language here,
2. Choosing us for your translation or interpretation needs here,
3. Bringing stories of our Language Partners to your community or workplace by hosting a Refugee Voices session …and joining the likes of Twitter, Meta, Ebay, and more!
4. Following us on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Linkedin.
5. Creating impact through partnerships with us! Get in touch here.

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10 Common Misconceptions About Refugees | NaTakallam

10 Common Misconceptions About Refugees

Reading Time: 9 minutes

In our modern era of clickbait headlines and 280-character debates, refugees often suffer from negative stereotyping and popular misconceptions like so many other marginalized communities.

NaTakallam’s tutors, teachers, interpreters, and translators come from diverse personal and professional backgrounds – each with unique skills and experiences that are often misconstrued by simplistic generalizations.

NaTakallam is committed to unpacking facts from fiction. We seek to reshape and reclaim narratives about refugee and displaced populations and promote understanding through fact-based discussions.

This World Refugee Month, NaTakallam hopes that employers and communities around the world will continue to work towards a better understanding of the rich contribution that individuals impacted by displacement can offer their communities and workplaces.

 


Myth 1: Most refugees restart their lives comfortably in new countries.

Fact: Less than 1% of refugees are resettled into new countries.

 

Resettlement is still a rare phenomenon, even though millions are eligible. In 2020, resettlement numbers hit a record low in the past two decades, according to a UNHCR report. Even though the US increased their refugee ceiling in 2021 to 62,500, a total of only 11,411 were resettled in the fiscal year – a mere 18% of the announced target. Even if successful, the resettlement process often takes years, and the journey of starting life anew in a foreign country can be extremely hard, especially in the face of new legal and educational systems, foreign languages, and cultural norms. 

NaTakallam works with skilled refugees who are often stuck in limbo, cut off from local labor markets, in camps or other transit circumstances. Therefore, each language session with NaTakallam makes important and meaningful contributions to their livelihoods and overall sense of belonging.

Sources: UN, UNHCR (Report), UNHCR (Data finder), Immigration Forum.

 

 


Myth 2: Most displaced persons flee to the US, Europe and Australia
.


Fact: 76% of displaced persons are hosted in developing countries.

 

Contrary to common belief and misleading headlines, only a small fraction of resettled refugees are hosted in developed countries of the West. From the 108.4 million forcibly displaced people today, the US admitted just over 25,000 refugees in 2022, using only 20% of the admissions target set by the Biden administration. In 2022, the EU resettled only 16,695 refugees despite promising to resettle more than 20,000 refugees. Most are forced into limbo states, with no legal residency or work status. 

The majority of displaced persons that NaTakallam works with have fled to neighboring developing countries. As of mid-2022, the leading host countries include Turkey (3.6 million refugees), Iran (3.4 million), Colombia (2.5 million), Germany (2.1 million) and Pakistan (1.7 million). Together, they accommodate 38% of the global refugee population.

Sources: UNHCR, Amnesty, Immigration Forum, CBC News, International Rescue Committee

 


Myth 3: Most refugees are adults.

 

Fact: Over 40% of refugees are under 18.


Not all refugees are adults. According to the UNHCR, an estimated 36.5 million of the world’s 100 million displaced people are under the age of 18. Furthermore, an estimated 12.5 million of the 27.1 million refugees are child refugees. Between 2018 and 2020, an average of between 290,000 and 340,000 children were born into a refugee life per year. Today, there are over 1 million children in the world who were born as refugees.

This demographic breakdown holds true for almost every regional crisis. Though children make up about a third of the global population, they constitute 50% of the world’s refugees. This dynamic is a significant concern, as contemporary child migration is often inhumane, unregulated, and dangerous. Moreover, an additional obstacle for refugee children seeking asylum is the fact that many of them go through this process without adult support. 

Source(s): UNHCR, UNICEF, Concern USA, UN News

 


Myth 4: Many refugees have smartphones so they must be well off.

 

Fact: Smartphones are a lifeline for refugees, not a luxury.

 

For refugees, smartphones provide access to essential and potentially life-saving information. Smartphones are used to find food, shelter, and assistance, navigate new areas, communicate with loved ones, and even earn a living through virtual work. Refugees often spend up to a third of their disposable income to afford connectivity and opportunities that come with a smartphone, according to Amnesty International.

In the era of what some have dubbed “the connected refugee,” NaTakallam provides opportunities for refugees to work as online language tutors, interpreters, and translators for users worldwide. 

Sources: UNHCR, Forbes, GSMA, Amnesty 

 

 

 

Myth 5: Most refugees live in camps.


Fact: Nearly 80% of refugees live in urban areas.

 

 Contrary to the frequent images of sprawling refugee camps in the media, almost 80% of refugees live in urban areas. This has presented a new set of challenges: resources are often less concentrated and humanitarian assistance is less plentiful, meaning that individuals can miss vital information and aid more easily.

NaTakallam works with displaced persons in both urban areas and refugee camps to ensure no one is marginalized due to their current circumstances. We leverage technology in a way that ensures accessibility for all users. 

Sources: UN Refugees, UNHCR, The Brookings Institute 

 

 


Myth 6: Refugee influxes ruin economies and communities.


Fact: Studies show that refugees can have positive fiscal and social impacts.

 

The notion that admitting refugees will ruin a host country’s economy is rooted in false economic beliefs. Over time, it has been shown that refugees actually add more value to the economy than the initial cost of resettlement – if they are granted the right to work legally. Moreover, studies show that low-skilled foreign workers and low-skilled domestic workers tend to complement each other rather than compete. In the US, refugees add billions to the economy, and experts assert that they will play a vital role in helping economies recover after the pandemic.

What is more, contrary to political narratives, studies consistently show that refugees are less likely to commit crimes, engage in “antisocial” behavior, or be arrested. In fact, higher immigration is generally associated with much lower crime rates. 

Many of NaTakallam’s displaced tutors are barred from local employment due to legal restrictions – leaving them vulnerable to the black market and unsafe work. NaTakallam allows refugees to make an income legitimately and safely, regardless of their location.

Sources: Immigration Forum, University of Oxford, Business Insider, Economic Research Forum, Global Citizen

 

 


Myth 7: Most refugees are from the MENA region.

 

Fact: The largest groups of refugees are from Ukraine, Syria and Afghanistan

 

While the news is often inundated with talk about refugees from the Middle East and North Africa region, over 72% of refugees arriving in the United States are actually not from the MENA region. As of 2022, the conflict and humanitarian crisis in Ukraine has forced more than 8.2 million people to flee the country with 5.9 million internally displaced. Followed by 5.4 million Syrian refugees hosted within the MENA region, with over 6.8 million internally displaced, and 5.2 million refugees from Afghanistan, of which 47% are children, and 3.3 million internally displaced. Furthermore, countries such as Venezuela, Burkina Faso, Myanmar, and Eritrea, among many more, are grappling with conflict and displacement issues, yet are frequently overlooked.

Sources: UNHCR, UNHCR Syria, UNHCR Afghanistan, UNHCR Ukraine, Statista, NRC

 

 


Myth 8: Refugees never return home to their native countries.

 

Fact: Most refugees would prefer to go home, and many do.

 

Popular narratives paint refugees as “economic migrants” who come to profit from the opportunities of more developed countries and never return to their home countries. This is a misconception. According to various surveys done across the world, most refugees are understandably reluctant to go home when the situation remains unsafe. However, from a sample survey of 1,100 displaced Syrians, an overwhelming majority, around 73%, say they would return home if the conditions were right.

Another report showed that in 2019 alone, 46,500 refugees voluntarily returned to the Central African Republic. What refugees seek is physical safety, dependable work, and sustainable housing, and the majority agree that if this were available in their home country, they would return. NaTakallam enables refugees to have reliable, consistent work as language tutors and translators in Arabic, Armenian, English, French, Kurdish, Persian, Russian, Spanish, Ukrainian and more.

Sources: UN refugee statistics, Washington Post, Relief Web, The National, UNHCR report

 

 


Myth 9: Refugees don’t make for good employees.

 

Fact: Refugees can be a long-term economic advantage for companies.

 

Employers say it best: when it comes to refugees, “they come to work and get the job done.” Research from the Fiscal Policy Institute (FPI) in 2018 highlights that in addition to being hardworking, refugees often stay with their employers for longer and speak a foreign language – a highly desirable skill for any global company. 

Furthermore, in a Tent Partnership for Refugees report (also backed by the FPI), many businesses that hired refugees stated that they were among their most dedicated workers. Employee turnover rates were much lower among refugee employees than in the general population – thus, saving businesses money. 

Sources: UN, Fiscal Policy Institute, Business Insider, Tent Partnership for Refugees.

 

 


Myth 10: “There’s nothing I can do to help refugees.”

 

Fact: Each person can make a difference in supporting refugees.

 

Everyone can do something. Whether it is welcoming refugees into your own community, raising awareness about the cause, or supporting refugee-centered organizations, you have the power to make an impact beyond donations.

And if you are looking to support refugee livelihoods directly, amidst the fastest-growing displacement crisis of our time, consider bringing NaTakallam into your home, classroom, or office setting for your language-learning, cultural exchange, or translation needs. Change a life, one refugee at a time.

 

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5 Incredible Latin American Feminists You Need To Know

Reading Time: 3 minutesBlog contributor: Maria Thomas

Women’s History Month or any day of the year, here are 5 Latin American feminists you need to know and celebrate!

1. Frida Kahlo (Mexico, 1907-1954)

Frida Kahlo was a Mexican artist known for her paintings that explored themes of female subjectivity, sexuality and marginality. Through her highly symbolic canvases, many of which were built around her own self-portraits – for example, Self-Portrait with Cropped Hair, Self-Portrait with Thorn Necklace and Hummingbird – Kahlo eschewed gender stereotypes and gave voice to often taboo aspects of femininity.

2. Excilia Saldaña (Cuba, 1946-1999)

Excilia Saldaña was an award-winning Cuban essayist, poet, translator, academic and author of children’s books. Her works – including the book, La Noche (‘The Night’), poems such as My Name (A Family Anti Elegy) and short stories like Kele Kele – were very important contributions to the creation and consolidation of a tradition of Afro-Hispanic women writers and artists.

3. Cecilia Vicuña (Chile, 1948-)

Cecilia Vicuña is a Chilean poet and multidisciplinary artist. Her works, which include collections of poems such as Precario/Precarious (1973) and Unravelling Words and Weaving Water (1992), and art installations such as Could-Net and Quipu Menstrual, are grounded in her understanding that the political, environmental and indigenous are inherently connected and must be addressed as such. Also, central to Vicuña’s works are her explorations of the connections between gendered injustice and environmental despoliation.

4. Selva Almada (Argentina, 1973-)

Selva Almada is an Argentinian writer who is considered one of the most powerful voices of contemporary Argentinian and Latin American literature. She is also recognised as one of the most influential feminist intellectuals of the region. Her works, particularly her book,  Dead Girls – originally published originally in Spanish as Chicas Muertas in 2014 – highlight issues such as gendered violence, femicide and the legal inadequacies of Argentinian legal systems in addressing them.

5. Clarice Lispector (Brazil, 1920-1977)

Clarice Lispector was an Ukranian-born Brazillian novelist and short-story writer. Her family fled Western Ukraine to escape the pogroms that followed World War I and the Russian Civil War. Her works written in Portuguese include short story collections such as Laços de família (‘Family Ties’) and Para não esquecer (‘Not to Forget’), and novels such as Perto do coração selvagem (translated and published in English as Near to the Wild Heart), A Paixão segundo G.H. (translated and published in English as The Passion According to G.H.). French feminist writer Hélène Cixous credits her works with “exploring women’s identity with a depth that no one has achieved until now”.

Learn Spanish and explore the worlds of these inspirational women with NaTakallam!

We are a women-led and women-fueled community that offers language sessions in Spanish, among other languages. Our Latin American native language tutors are individuals who have been displaced from countries like Venezuela, Nicaragua, and Guatemala, and are currently resettled in neighboring countries such as Uruguay, Costa Rica, the United States, Ecuador, Trinidad and Tobago, and Argentina. 

Brush up your Spanish skills, delve into Latin American cultures and experiences, and celebrate these incredible women, today and everyday!

 

This piece was contributed by Maria Thomas, a copywriter with NaTakallam. She is currently pursuing her doctoral studies in art history. In her spare time, she enjoys reading, powerlifting and going on hikes.

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5 Incredible Arab Feminists You Need to Know

Reading Time: 4 minutesBlog contributor: Maria Thomas

NaTakallam is marking International Women’s Day and Women’s History Month by highlighting some of history’s most celebrated feminists. This week, join us as we take a look at 5 incredible Arab feminists we all need to know.

1. Nawal El Saadawi (Egypt, 1931-2021)

Nawal El Saadawi was an Egyptian feminist writer, activist and physician. Her works such as The Hidden Face of Eve (الوجه القاري للمرأة العربية, Al-Wajh al-qari lil-mar’a al-‘arabiyyah), A Daughter of Isis, and Memoirs of a Woman Doctor have over the years become a cornerstone of Arab feminism. In Saadawi’s own words, her writing was a weapon which she exercised against the autocratic power of state and that of the father or husband figure in the family.

‘‘The written word is an act of rebellion, against injustice exercised in the name of religion, or morals, or love.’’ – Nawal El Saadawi (A Daughter of Isis)

2. Fatema Mernissi (Morocco, 1940-2015)

Professor Fatema Mernissi was a Moroccan writer and sociologist. Her works include her revolutionary book Beyond the Veil (1975), a fictional memoir, Dreams of Trespass: Tales of a Harem Girlhood (1994), and The Forgotten Queens of Islam (1990). Her scholarship thwarts the popular notion that female subordination is rooted in religious texts and argues that this misunderstanding ‘‘sprang from centuries of misinterpretation by male leaders intent on maintaining the sexual status quo’’. Mernissi was a pioneer of Islamic feminism and inspired Muslim women, especially those from humble backgrounds, in their struggles for human dignity, equality and social justice.

3. Sahar Khalifeh (Palestine, 1941-)

Sahar Khalifeh is a Palestinian writer known for her gripping novels such as Wild Thorns (الصبار, Al- Sabaar), The Inheritance (الميراث, Al-Mirath), and My First and Only Love (حبي الأول, Hubbi al-Awaal). Her writings focus on female characters with strong personalities. She masterfully connects the plight of the nation with that of women, pointing out that the devaluation of women obstructs nationalist ambitions

‘‘I could see very clearly that the debacle of 1967 was the fruit of a rotten tree that needed a cure – the internally defeated do not triumph. The cure must start with our households and with those in power, with our social values and ties, with the fabric of the family, with the rules and basics of the upbringing of the individual at home, in school, and at university, and then progress to the street.’’ – Sahar Khalifeh (My Life, Myself, and the World)


4. Ghada al Samman (Syria, 1942-)

Ghada al Samman is a Syrian journalist and novelist, best known for her sublime short stories. Her writings are collected in volumes such as عيناك قدري (Aynak qadiri, ‘‘Your eyes are my destiny’’), لا بحر في بيروت (La bahar fi Beirut, ‘‘No sea in Beirut’’), and  رحيل المرافئ القديمة (Rahil al-marafi al-qadima, ‘‘The departure of the Old Ports’’). She also wrote two novels – Beirut Nightmares ( كوابيس بيروت, Kwabis Beirut) and ليلة المليار (Laylat al-milyar, ‘‘The Eve of Billion’’). Samman’s works are a bold commentary on contemporary social and political realities. She established the Ghada al Samman Publications in 1977 to publish her own writings free of editorial interference and censorship.

5. Assia Djebar (Algeria, 1936-2015)

Assia Djebar was an Algerian writer, translator and filmmaker. She is known for works such as La Soif (“The Thirst”), Les Enfants du Nouveau Monde (‘‘Children of the New World’’), and Fantasia: An Algerian Cavalcade (original title: L’Amour, la fantasia). Although her writings are not in her mother tongue – Arabic, she had a keen interest in the language and used French to ‘‘reproduce Arabic rhythms’’. Her writings explore the struggles she knew both as a feminist living under patriarchy and an intellectual living under colonialism and its aftermath.

Learn Arabic and explore the writings of these incredible women with NaTakallam! We are a women-led and women-fueled community that offers language sessions in Modern Standard Arabic and 7+ dialects.

This March, purchase 5+ hours of language sessions and get 1 hour FREE – as a gift to you or perhaps – to mark the occasion – an amazing woman in your life.

This piece was contributed by Maria Thomas, a copywriter with NaTakallam. She is currently pursuing her doctoral studies in art history. In her spare time, she enjoys reading, powerlifting and going on hikes.

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One story of cross-border love from our Afghan tutor, Sadiqa

Reading Time: 2 minutesSince February is the month of love, we put out a call to our conversation partner community to tell us their stories of love and romance. Sadiqa, one of our tutors from Afghanistan, shared the story below

Sadiqa Sultani, one of NaTakallam’s Dari instructors, is originally from Afghanistan. She had moved to Quetta, Pakistan with her family when she was young to escape the Taliban rule, but soon after, they were forced to leave Pakistan due to persecution based on their ethnic and religious identities, rendering her double displaced.

Now living as a refugee in Bogor, Indonesia, Sadiqa is a volunteer teacher within the local refugee community. She tries to give her refugee students something meaningful to do as they wait out the resettlement process. She also teaches students on the other side of the world online through NaTakallam. 

One morning in October 2018, Sadiqa saw she had received a message from a man named Naeem Royan, a long-lost classmate of hers from her days in Quetta. In his love letter, Naeem wrote that he had loved her since primary school and had searched for her for eight years.

At first, she didn’t believe him! 

Sadiqa was waiting to go back to Pakistan, but she was still in Indonesia because of the slow resettlement process. She began chatting with Naeem online, getting to know each other after so many years apart and slowly falling in love…

When Naeem proposed, Sadiqa had a big decision to make.

Was he serious? Sadiqa wasn’t sure. She discussed the proposal with her parents. She spent more time talking to Naeem before making any decision, as she still didn’t know him very well. Naeem was trying very hard to make her feel his love and respect for her, never missing a single chance to express his feelings and thoughts. 

Finally, Sadiqa said YES and accepted his proposal. 

However, there were many challenges in store for the two lovers. As Sadiqa could not go back to Pakistan, Naeem decided to come to Indonesia. Just as he was planning his trip, the coronavirus pandemic struck, and the world went on lockdown. By this time, Sadiqa and Naeem had been in a relationship for more than three years and were still unable to be together. Last month, they were Nikahfied (married) in an online ceremony. 

They love each other dearly and unconditionally. These two lovers have been able to stand and be together through so many ups and downs. They are still searching for any possible way to start living together and bridge the forced divide between them, just praying and hoping to be together soon.

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Gift Guide: 6 Social Enterprises that Support Refugees

Reading Time: 5 minutes 

It’s that time of year again! This holiday season, kill two birds with one stone by considering impact-driven gifts for your loved ones. Make a difference with our list of 6 social enterprises that support the talents, skills, and livelihood of displaced persons – refugees, asylum seekers, and migrants – through their unique and thoughtfully-collated products that will leave a lasting impression (and impact).

 

1. MADE51 | Starting from £12 

MADE51 is a UNHCR initiative that connects refugee artisans to global markets. It is a lifestyle brand selling beautiful home decor and fashion items that merge contemporary design with traditional craftsmanship. Each product in the MADE51 collection is handcrafted by a refugee artisan who lives in a hosting country in Africa, Asia, Europe, or the Middle East. Whether it is their Amaryllis Basket, crafted by Burundian refugees living in Rwanda, or their Gold Glow Nuusum Statement Earrings, crafted by refugees from Myanmar, Syria, and Afghanistan living in Malaysia – each piece in this collection tells a story of skill and perseverance and would make a perfect stocking filler this holiday season! 

MADE51 offers flat-rate worldwide shipping and free shipping with a minimum purchase spend. Find out more here.

 

2. Migrateful | Starting from £20 | Digital Gift Option

Migrateful is a social enterprise based in London that gives asylum seekers and refugees looking for jobs in the UK a space to share recipes from their countries, their culture, language and stories through cookery classes – in person or digital. They also receive professional training and English-language lessons. Participants in these classes can learn recipes from all over the world from chefs coming from: Afghanistan, Iran, Lebanon, Egypt, Tunisia, Albania, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Nigeria, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Cuba and Ecuador. Migrateful’s online or in-person cookery classes are an ideal gift for foodies and culture enthusiasts in your life, near or far!

The Migrateful cookery classes can take place in-person in London, Bristol, Kent or Brighton or online on Zoom. Shipping-free and guaranteed fun with impact.

 

3. Sisterhood Soap | Preemptive Love | Starting from US$10

Looking for gifts that are good for your skin, the environment, and the world? Preemptive Love’s Sisterhood Soap, hand-milled by refugees in Iraq, using natural and sustainable ingredients will not disappoint. They use natural ingredients such as 100% pure olive oil and wild grown herbs. Their motto for the latter is: if it hasn’t been grown wild for hundreds of years, don’t use it! Sisterhood Soap does not use any dyes, artificial fragrance, glycerine, sulfates or parabens – making it safe for all skin-types. In choosing their individual soaps, gift sets, or their quarterly soap subscription, you’re empowering a refugee soapmaker and growing the sisterhood! 

Rebuild lives one bar at a time. Preemptive Love ships worldwide from the US. Shipping rates and times will vary according to items, courier and location.

 

4. Anchor of Hope Box | Starting from US$36

The Anchor of Hope Box is a monthly subscription box filled with original, lifestyle items handmade by refugees, survivors of human trafficking and other vulnerable situations. In doing so, they endeavor to give hope and dignity to individuals who are working to overcome poverty and injustice that has impacted their lives. The monthly subscription boxes include well-thought-out and researched products ranging from jewelry, ceramics, art works to home decor and spices. Each month, the subscription box will contain 3 quality, handmade items as well as an information card about the products and the artisans that made them. Gift a loved one an Anchor of Hope Box this holiday season and share the joy of a gift that keeps giving! 

Anchor of Hope Box currently only ships to the US. Shipping rates and times may vary according to the location.

 

5. SEP Jordan | Starting from €35

A Swiss-based social enterprise, SEP Jordan is a luxury fashion & lifestyle business with a social impact focus. Its mission is to bring thousands of refugees, located in the Jerash “Gaza” Camp in Jordan, above the poverty line: by leveraging their skills and talent in hand embroidery. They currently work with over 500 embroidery artists, mostly women, enabling them to regain their economic and emotional independence. Their hand-embroidered keffiyehs (كوفية‎), beautiful cashmere shawls, and bespoke accessories, all packed with love and heritage, would make quality gifts for loved ones. Additionally, they offer Gift Card options starting from €50. 

SEP Jordan ships worldwide via DHL Express. Shipping rates and times may vary according to the location.

 

6. NaTakallam | Starting from $25 | Digital Gift 

Last, but not least, NaTakallam is an award-winning social enterprise that pairs language learners with native tutors from refugee backgrounds for one-on-one online lessons! You can choose from an array of languages – including Arabic, Armenian, Kurdish, Persian, French and Spanish – and gift packages to fit your budget. With NaTakallam’s language sessions you can give your loved one an experience of a language and culture while also supporting the livelihood of tutors from displaced backgrounds and their host communities. It makes a perfect stocking stuffer for a beloved language-enthusiast looking for a life-changing experience (both theirs and their tutors alike)!

Give the Gift of Conversation to a language lover in your life, near or far. Suitable for all levels and ages. This gift is paperless and shipping-free (i.e it can be “virtually” shipped worldwide).

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