Chatterbox: Online Language Learning Service Powered By Refugee Talent.

Chatterbox is building an online language learning service powered by refugee talent. Chatterbox connects the problem of underutilised refugee talent with an opportunity in the demand for their language skills. We train and employ displaced people to teach their native languages in the booming online and in-person language learning industry. We pair learners with refugee tutors who share their interests, increasing motivation and relevance in their learning. Refugees use their existing language skills and experience and gain stimulating employment in the language services sector, benefiting both them and wider society.

Why do we need Chatterbox?

Every three seconds a person is displaced from their home because of war crisis. Refugees with advanced degrees and valuable skills face shocking levels of unemployment or underemployment worldwide. At the same time, language skills shortages are a phenomenon around the UK (and elsewhere) which has resulted in a 3.5% loss to nationwide GDP. The beauty of this solution is that it provides meaningful employment for refugees whilst plugging the language skills deficiency problem. This two-way mechanism for integration helps us see refugees as an asset rather than a burden on host communities.

What inspired you to start?

In the refugee community I grew up in, refugees with advanced degrees and valuable skills face shocking levels of unemployment or underemployment. Harmful societal attitudes and global trends on displacement mean that this situation will get worse.

What have you achieved so far?

Our affordable, innovative, and engaging language learning approach has been used by thousands of users. After successfully launching our service in January 2017, with SOAS and Edinburgh university amongst the first clients, they have been able to help many refugees in the UK, France, United States and Canada reclaim their professional identities. At the moment our clients include Leeds, Westminster and Reading University, WeWork.

How can people get involved with Chatterbox or help out?

If you want to support our mission you can help by spreading the word through our ambassadors' programme. As a Chatterbox Ambassadors, you can be a part to help to change the conversation around refugees by highlighting the significant untapped talent in the refugee community by supporting marketing activities in your city, university or in the area you care most about.

Mursal Hedayat is co-founder and CEO of Chatterbox, a language learning service powered by refugees talent.
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