Chatterbox: a language tutoring platform delivered by refugees

Refugees with advanced degrees and valuable skills face shocking levels of unemployment or underemployment worldwide. The continual bubbling of negative societal attitudes means that this situation has the potential to get even worse. How can Chatterbox help?

Chatterbox connects the problem of underutilized refugee talent with an opportunity in demand for their language skills. They train and employ displaced people to teach their mother tongues in the booming online and in-person language learning the industry, valued at $58.2bn in 2011. The hourly rate they charge for tutoring provides an income for refugees at the Living Wage foundation rates and above and also fuels their operations.

In October, Chatterbox pitched their project to the audience of over 500 social entrepreneurs, NGOs, researchers, journalists, impact investors, and policymakers at the first Techfugees Global Summit in Paris. According to the founder of the social enterprise, Mursal Hedayat, it “was cool to meet so many like-minded people”.

Techfugees Global Summit 2017

Highlights from the first Techfugees Summit 25-26 October at Station F, Paris – #TFSummit17. The Summit welcomed 500+ attendees from 37 countries, including social entrepreneurs, refugees, impact investors, policy makers, media, NGOs, 50+ speakers, 42 startups pitching on stage, 3 workshops focused on human centered design, access to employment and blockchain for refugees. As Joséphine says, "we guarantee we'll do it again". Stay tuned!

Posted by Techfugees on Tuesday, November 21, 2017


The beauty of this solution is that it provides meaningful employment for refugees while plugging the language skills shortage estimated to cost the UK economy £48bn every year. This two-way mechanism for integration helps people see refugees as an asset rather than a burden on host communities. And using a tiny bit of tech, including online booking and video classrooms, they can connect with refugees and people from all over the world.

After successfully launching their 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, and Canada reclaim their professional identities.

We met one of their tutors, H., through a homelessness charity called Crisis. She was forced to flee her life in Sudan as a human rights lawyer, and start anew in the UK. Three months after first meeting her, she had an offer to study with one of their university clients, a job Chatterbox had provided a reference for, and a legal internship via one of her students.

Learn languages with refugees

What is Chatterbox?

Posted by Chatterbox on Thursday, November 16, 2017


Chatterbox’ affordable, innovative, and engaging language learning approach has been used by hundreds of users in over 500 hours cross-cultural exchange. In less than a year of trading, Chatterbox has worked with schools, universities, individuals, charities, and businesses. Upcoming clients include more universities and huge organizations that are household names.

We need to continue to develop the platform, currently being built by a team of superstar volunteer developers. We need you to share your world-class skills in UX/UI and from-end development and use innovation to break down barriers.

Every three seconds a person is displaced from their home because of war crisis. They can’t wait another year to get Chatterbox to where it needs to be: in refugee camps and cities around the world. If you are interested in volunteering your design and development skills or otherwise getting involved, email

Visit to discover more about the people they are helping and how they are changing their lives. Follow Chatterbox online at Facebook, Instagram and Twitter: @wearechatterbox.

One thought on “Chatterbox: a language tutoring platform delivered by refugees

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *