Aline Sara is the co-founder and CEO of NaTakallam, an award-winning social enterprise that connects refugees and displaced persons with work opportunities in the language sector through the freelance economy. Winner of the Rent the Runway Female Entrepreneur Pitch Competition and 2nd place winner at the World Bank’s WeMENA competition, Sara has overseen the growth of NaTakallam from a small startup to a globally recognized organization that has distributed over $500,000 in self-earned income to refugees and displaced people.
Lebanese, born and raised in New York, Aline completed her Baccalaureat at the Lycée Français in New York City and graduated in psychology from Tufts University in Boston. She then moved to Beirut and worked in conflict resolution and human rights before transitioning into journalism, focusing on human and women’s rights and wider socio-political affairs before, during and after the Arab Uprisings. In 2012, Aline returned to New York for her masters in International Affairs at Columbia University. She then worked as an international election observer in Tunisia, Guyana and Haiti while continuing to write as a freelancer on the side.
In 2015, in light of the challenging work situation for the million+ Syrian refugees in Lebanon, and while searching for ways to practice her own Arabic skills, Aline came up with the idea for NaTakallam –to hire refugees as online tutors– which has grown into a larger social enterprise working in multiple languages and communities. To date, the venture, which is disrupting the way we typically think of humanitarianism, has provided over half a million dollars in cash to displaced people worldwide. Besides income to refugees on the one hand and a service to students and clients on the other, NaTakallam helps foster intercultural exchange and raise awareness around the daily challenges of fleeing conflict zones, notably through its academic partnerships with schools and universities (including Columbia, Duke, GW, Tufts, Yale and more).