By the end of last year, there were 25.4 million people forced to flee their countries because of persecution, war or violence, according to the UN Refugee Agency Report.
There are a lot of challenges refugees face once arrived in their new country: culture shock, emotional turmoil, depression, difficulties embracing foreign culture, poverty risk, little to no opportunity to find employment due to harmful societal attitudes etc.
That’s where Chatterbox comes in.
Chatterbox is a language learning service powered by refugees’ talent
The Story behind Chatterbox
Chatterbox is an UK-based startup founded in 2016 by Mursal Hedayat, daughter of a refugee.
She arrived in the UK from Afghanistan with her mother, a civil engineer. Although a well-educated professional and speaking four languages, her mother had a hard time finding work that allowed her to put her talent and abilities to practise.
While the refugees with advanced degrees are struggling to find suitable work, the UK is losing an estimated £48 billion in missed trading opportunities due to a gap in language skills. Chatterbox is Mursal’s solution to this problem.
Chatterbox is on a mission to change the conversation around refugees by highlighting the significant untapped talent in the refugee community.
Chatterbox matches under-utilised refugee talent with opportunities in the demand for their language skills.
We train and employ refugees to use their existing language skills and experience and gain stimulating employment in the language services sector, benefiting both them and wider society.
Our social enterprise is committed to operating in the most social and environmentally responsible way, reinvesting 100% of our profits into the enterprise to ensure the fulfilment of our mission.
Right now Chatterbox has refugee tutors based in the UK, France, Turkey and the United States. Mursal and her team plan to continue expanding their reach in order to fulfil their ultimate goal – providing career opportunities to refugees who reside in refugee camps.
Chatterbox became member of the UK Tutors’ Association
On January 2018, Chatterbox was proud to be awarded membership of The UK Tutors’ Association.
Here is what Adam Muckle, President of The Tutors’ Association said in regard to Chatterbox:
What is unique here is that the focus isn’t just on the student, but on the journey for the tutor as well. I was moved by the sense of worth and belonging that Chatterbox was giving to those professionally qualified refugees who were coming to the UK. Arriving here they could potentially be vulnerable to feeling isolated and powerless; Chatterbox is giving them a new kind of opportunity.
Do you want to practise? This is how it works
Chatterbox tutors come from a variety of professional backgrounds, we match them to learners who work or are interested in the same space. It is easier to talk about things you are already interested in! Learning new words, exchanging cultures and stories.
On the Chatterbox site, the student selects the language and a tutor, the number of lessons and opts-in for one-to-one or group sessions. The lesson is delivered by Skype and it costs £10/person. The Chatterbox tutors are refugees from academic, professional, and industrial backgrounds.
Benefits of the Chatterbox service
- Supports their tutors onto a pathway towards skilled employment;
- Their tutors rebuild their confidence, networks, and local work experience;
- Widens the access to skilled work in disadvantaged communities;
- Supports the social and economic integration of refugees into the UK society;
- Promotes language learning in society by providing affordable solutions to help individuals, corporates, and public sector bodies build up the cross-cultural competencies of their workforce in a globalised world.
Join the Conversation
We’d love to hear what you have to say.