Social Impact

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

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

Reading Time: 2 minutes

Since 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.

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

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).

Gift Guide: 6 Social Enterprises that Support Refugees Read More »

The Human Rights Advocates Teaching You Languages

Reading Time: 5 minutes

Today, December 10th, marks Human Rights Day – the day the UN General Assembly adopted the Universal Declaration of Human Rights in 1948…and a day to celebrate in all languages.

Did you know..? Many of our Language Partners are human rights advocates themselves!

Mahmoud: Women’s Rights in the Middle East

“This year during COVID times, I started an Instagram account supporting women rights and speaking on human rights topics in the Middle East. My goal is to shed light on the growing gender equality movement in the Middle East covering topics such as toxic masculinity, relationships, the upbringing of children and mental health. Moreover, I started working as a cultural mediator for the European network for the work against perpetrators of gender-based violence, a project by the European Commission, and I will have my first webinar about this topic very soon.”

– Mahmoud, Syrian language partner based in Germany

Leila: Giving a voice to the voiceless

“Most of my studies are about voiceless people from the Middle East. This year during the very hard times of the pandemic, I started to focus on presenting my ideas and interpretations via zoom workshops and talks, as well as building a series of podcasts. In these podcasts, we try to educate the people about their past. Our goal is to show that there are always traces of subordinated voiceless people neglected by governments and some historians. The history is not only of well-off people, but all the human beings, despite their ethnicity, sex, and social class, should have their space in history. The history of the Middle East, in most cases, is comprised of the stories of victorious kings, armies, and masculinity-we are trying to transform all these presumptions. I am also writing applications and hope to get some amount of money to continue my project on voiceless people in Europe.”

– Leila, Persian language partner based in Sweden

Luis: Fighting against corruption

 

“I am a former anti-corruption prosecutor and I worked in high impact cases within my country which were of national significance. One of them even reached the USA. In the cases I worked, I managed to prosecute high State officials and powerful national and international businessmen, which led to my being harassed.

As there is no protection from the State institutions in Guatemala, despite the various complaints I presented to make it known that my family was in danger, the level of persecution against us was such, that it led to my current refugee situation in the US. Nonetheless, I feel very happy with the work I did, because fighting corruption is synonymous with supporting Human Rights. Corruption limits people’s access to good education, food, health, housing, among others, and despite being away from my home and loved ones, I know that I did the right things in the right way.”

– Luis, Guatemalan language partner based in the US

Fanar: Refugee & Asylum Rights to Resettlement

 

“After more than 4 years of waiting in my host country, I am finally getting the chance to get an asylum visa to France through the French Embassy. It was like a miracle for me to get it especially in this hard year for most of the people. I didn’t believe in good in this world, but we found very good hearted people that helped and still want to help us.

I am expecting to travel in the next few days with my family and I am very excited to move to a new country and have a life after years of being a refugee in Jordan where I wasn’t even recognized as a refugee by the UNHCR. I hope this gives hope to others who are in need for it.

NaTakallam is a great opportunity for me because I cannot work in Jordan as an asylum seeker. I feel happy and hopeful every time I get a new student. NaTakallam is the place where I can meet different and new young people that encourage me to look forward. I am very glad to be one of the language partners in such a wonderful organization. I feel liked and confident whenever I talk to one of my students. I can see their kindness in their words and compliments that makes me so happy and satisfied. There are students that care for my asylum status and try to send me online jobs: one time my sister got a job because of my student sending me a link she found and thought of us!”

– Fanar, Iraqi language partner based Jordan, soon moving to France

Join us today, and every day, in celebrating human rights, and all the unsung heroes around the world who have stood up for humanity. 

Want get to know these heroes further & even perhaps, learn languages with them?
Sign up for language sessions (in 5 languages) with them here! Or maybe even gift them to loved ones this holiday season.

The Human Rights Advocates Teaching You Languages Read More »

5 Ways to Change the World — Even Under Lockdown

Reading Time: 3 minutes

Lockdown, round 2? 

Believe it or not, that act of staying indoors—in itself—is saving lives. 

As we continue to experience pressure these days – worrying news worldwide, anxiety about an even greater winter Covid-wave and, getting used to remote work (again) – something remains unchanged: the aspiration to make a difference.

Here are our – non-exhaustive – suggestions of 5 great ways to change the world from home.

1. Support worthwhile causes

While many of us are taking a financial toll due to the new restrictions, others are fortunate to be able to continue working from home, business (almost) as usual. If you’ve saved cash from skipping restaurants or shopping, consider donating to cause or browsing the web for holiday gifts with a cause.

There are plenty of phenomenal organizations to choose from, and many have lost funding due to a shift towards covid-related initiatives.

→ CharityWatch provides a topic-based list.

2. Grow your own urban balcony garden

Grow your own urban balcony garden. Pollution in many areas under full lockdown went down earlier this year, so while we breathe cleaner air, the climate crisis continues to threaten the survival of hundreds of species – including our own.

Growing an urban garden will allow you to get in touch with nature, its rhythm, cycles, feeling part of something bigger than yourself. Your balcony will look even greater, and might even come in handy for a bit of cooking! You’ll also reap benefits to your mood and productivity!

3. Get inspired by a talk or podcast!

Everyone loves a good podcast, TED Talk or other. Get cozy, and get inspired.

In line with our mission to support displaced persons, here’s a selection of powerful refugee and displacement related content (and a few uplifting ones!).

Are We There Yet? by The American Life, to hear what it’s truly like in refugee camps in Greece

Let’s Help Refugees Thrive, Not Just Survive by Melissa Fleming, real talk more relevant today than ever

Border(less) by Kerning Cultures, on navigating Europe’s elusive borders as refugees

→ The Surprising Science of Happiness by Dan Gilbert, when you need a ~scientific~ reason to 🙂

How to Make Stress your Friend by Kelly McGonigal, when you have overwhelming days.

 

4. Take advantage of online courses, especially those in social change and impact!

5. Boost your language learning skills 🙂

We will be honest: our mission is to support refugees and their host communities worldwide. We would love for you to consider learning a new language while supporting our incredible refugee tutors, teachers, and translators.

Travel the world through your screen with NaTakallam, make a new friend, practice a language!

Click here to learn Arabic, French, Kurdish, Persian, or Spanish!

* * * * *

And if you’re able to… stay home! Flatten the curve, protect yourself and those around you. Above all, stay positive 🙂

5 Ways to Change the World — Even Under Lockdown Read More »

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