Aline Sara, Founder of NaTakallam steps on to the New York Launch Pod to discuss her online platform that connects Arabic learners around the world with displaced Syrians for language practice.

Aline first came up with the idea of when she wanted to work on her Arabic after finishing her Master’s Degree in International Affairs at Columbia and found that the price for individual tutoring was expensive. Aline, who is Lebanese, saw the over one million displaced Syrians in Lebanon and connected the need for Arabic learning with a native speaking population. NaTakallam, which means we speak, was born at a Columbia University start-up competition and went on to finish in the semi-finals of a World Bank competition.

NaTakallam partnered with NGOs in Beirut that help recruit Syrian conversation partners. The conversation partners are interviewed and vetted by the company and have conversations with their students over Skype. Once launched, NaTakallam was shared over 5,000 times and demand is growing, particularly among universities.

The Syrian crisis has created over 4.8 Million refugees and internally displaced over 6.5 Million Syrians (source: OCHA). many of the refugees are unable to participate in their respective local economies, NaTakallam provides a sustainable source of income that is different from aid.

Hear how NaTakallam has changed the lives of the displaced Syrians and teaching Arabic to students in a way that they can actually learn, what the company means to the conversation partners and just what the students and teachers talk about.

Transcript of the episode available here:

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