Natakallam provides employment to refugees through the online economy as Arabic-language conversation partners and translators. 


Facts & Figures
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  • Location: Mostly Lebanon, some Egypt
  • Alfanar Investee Since: 2016
  • Total Alfanar Investment: £59,193
  • Social Impact: 35 Syrian refugees employed as Conversation Partners and translators

The Challenge

The Syrian conflict has triggered the worst refugee crisis since World War II, with an estimated 11 million Syrians having fled their homes since 2011.  In Lebanon, 1 in 4 people is a refugee, but most are barred from working. Employment through the internet economy allows for flexibility around this barrier.

The Organisation

Established in 2015 by two graduates of Colombia’s School of International and Public Affairs, Natakallam, meaning ‘we can speak’ in Arabic, leverages online communication technology to pair Arabic-speaking refugees, mainly based in Lebanon, with Arabic learners worldwide for conversation practice purposes. Through Natakallam refugees secure a valuable source of income, thereby gaining stability, independence and choice.


Achievements with Alfanar's Support

To date, 35 Syrian conversation partners have been employed through Natakallam.  As an organization, they have served 2,182 individuals across 65 different countries (with the majority coming from the US). Natakallam conversation partners have delivered more than 22,000 hours of conversation sessions, and have generated more than US$803,880 of revenue for themselves.

My NaTakallam sessions are helping me practice listening comprehension and speaking in colloquial Arabic - which makes me very happy. But even more importantly I have the chance to  connect with a brave person who is starting life over again because of the war. It helps me understand the human impact of the Syrian conflict in a real way.

Hannah Evans, 50, Toronto, USA


Alfanar's Investment: Looking Ahead

Alfanar is working to digitise Natakallam’s matching capability in order to enhance the efficiency of its service.