Last year, a report from the Higher Education Policy Institute found that 32 per cent of 16–30-year-olds in the UK feel confident reading and writing in another language compared with 89 per cent in the rest of the EU.
Kabul-born Mursal Hedayat knows a way to remedy this. Mursal has launched an online platform – Chatterbox – that allows Britons to take advantage of the language skills of UK-based asylum seekers. Mursal describes Chatterbox as, “An enterprise that was created for refugees by refugees, we train and then employ refugees to teach their native languages.”
Mursal’s program not only fosters great student-teacher relationships, but allows those eager to learn a second language the opportunity to connect with refugees and learn more about their experiences. This is a prominent feature in Chatterbox’s offering. Mursal was forced to flee Afghanistan and take refuge the UK with her mother, a polyglot engineer who had to face the challenge of finding a job in a new country.
The work of Chatterbox consists of training refugees as teachers of their mother tongue, in addition to connecting them with potential students.