In a global setting where political leaders are talking about building walls, NaTakallam is building bridges.

Aline addresses the startup mindset's role within the refugee crisis at TechCrunch Disrupt Berlin 2018.

In the summer of 2014 Aline Sara had just completed her masters in International Affairs at Columbia University and was looking for an affordable way to practice her Arabic—specifically, her native Lebanese regional dialect—from New York City. It was also at that time that Syrians, fleeing the violence from the brutal civil war, were pouring into Lebanon, where today, roughly 1 out of 4 people are Syrian.

Like most Syrians outside of the country, and notably the 5 million-plus who are living in neighboring countries, Syrians in Lebanon cannot easily get work permits, making their capacity to work and sustain a livelihood incredibly difficult. The same daily struggle with varying legal realities holds true for Venezuelans living in Argentina, people from Burundi living in Europe or the Middle East, or Yemenis displaced inside their own country, and millions of other displaced people in the world.

Aline thought of connecting her need to access conversational Arabic to that of displaced Syrians to access an income. She was joined by her former classmate, Reza Rahnema, himself, French-born, to Iranian parents, and with a background in economic and political development, and thus came to life the idea of NaTakallam, pioneering the concept of leveraging the digital economy and refugees’ language skills to provide language services to users worldwide, who, through their engagement, help support displaced persons’ livelihoods.

Thanks to our talented pool of conversation partners, we offer language sessions in French, Persian, Spanish, Kurdish and Armenian besides Arabic in multiple dialects.

Our Team

Our team is based across the world, made of individuals with experience in economic and political development, conflict resolution, human rights, humanitarian affairs, linguistics, technology, finance, design and journalism.

Aline Sara

CEO & Co-Founder

Reza Rahnema

COO & Co-Founder

Daniël Kuipers

Chief of Staff

Dina Rokić

Executive Assistant

Carmela Francolino

CP Performance & Community Manager

Moulham Ibrik

Operations Officer

Setareh (Tara) Gerashi

Marketing and Social Media Manager

Lydia Bassaly

Head of Translation Department & CP Recruitment

Najat Keaik

Arabic Translation Project Manager & Copy Editor

Danica Harootian

Head of University & K12 Partnerships

Madison Sindorf

University Programs Officer

Sally Wehbi

K-12 Program Officer

Majd Trifie

Finance Officer

Dele Omotosho

Tech Product Manager

Partners & Supporters