Education and Skills

Syrian refugees are getting a new life as virtual teachers

Syrian refugee students walk through their classes as others attend a lesson in classroom at a school in Nizip refugee camp, near the Turkish-Syrian border in Gaziantep province, Turkey, November 30, 2016. REUTERS/Umit Bektas TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY - RC1D268DBE00

Aline Sara is giving skilled Syrian refugees the opportunity to teach Arabic to students around the world via Skype. Image: REUTERS/Umit Bektas

Leila Molana-Allen
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Technological Transformation

Lebanese entrepreneur Aline Sara saw a gap in the market while hunting for Arabic conversation classes in the West. She connects highly skilled Syrian refugees with Arabic learners around the world, providing much-needed work for the teachers.

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Beirut – With more than a million Syrian refugees living in Lebanon, and many struggling to survive financially, a Lebanese tech entrepreneur has come up with a novel solution: providing them with the opportunity to teach Arabic to students around the world via Skype.

Aline Sara founded NaTakkalam, which means “we speak” in Arabic, and has signed up more than 60 Syrians to teach. As many refugees are barred from working in their host countries, this offers a much-needed revenue stream. Along the way, students and their Syrian conversation partners engage in a powerful intercultural exchange, developing friendships across borders and changing people’s preconceptions about refugees.

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