They Fled Syria. How Voice for All Will Help Them Find a Better Life.

 “The Potential Is Enormous”

We give a voice to global talent. It’s our purpose and, now, our promise, thanks to Voice for All, our global initiative for social good that launched in June. With every program license purchased, GlobalEnglish donates one to NGOs and non-profits that work to support immigrants, refugees, and other learners struggling to unleash their full potential. At present, some 1,850 learners across 10 countries are being empowered to find a better life.

But what does a better life look like?

We took that question to three of our current partner organizations, asking them to explain the potential they see. Their responses echoed each other’s: The impact could be huge.

As the Syrian refugee crisis grabbed headlines, Kenz-Ali Boubekeur wanted to do something—but as a college student at McGill University in Montreal, donating money wasn’t an option. He saw an overlooked population and had an idea. “A lot of refugee relief goes to children and families, and rightfully so, but there is this age range between late teens and 20s who can’t receive the help children get and are at risk of being idle and stuck,” he explains. And so he co-founded Opportutoring. an organization run by McGill University students who provide English tutoring via Skype to young adults who have fled Syria to Greece or Turkey.

The aim is to equip them with the skills that will enable them to communicate more easily in their country of resettlement, but there can be on the pace of learning. Internet access isn’t always readily available, or not available at the same time as learners’ Canadian tutors. And there is location uncertainty, with learners not sure exactly where they’ll be and for how long. “Sometimes we have to stop for a few weeks and don’t know when we’ll begin again,” Boubekeur explains. “GlobalEnglish allows us to answer a problem that we wouldn’t be able to answer ourselves,” as students will be able to study English even when tutors are not able to connect with them.

World Relief’s Sacramento branch was itself struggling with the question of how to help a certain population. World Relief has for nearly 40 years worked with the U.S. Department of State to welcome and resettle refugees referred to the United States by the United Nations Refugee Agency, and the women it assists often haven’t had the same opportunities to learn English as their husbands or children. “The education is there but just not the English component,” explains Denton Josey, Employment Manager for the Sacramento branch.

 

Many have small children at home, and childcare responsibilities prohibit them from attending language classes. This language gap leaves these women increasingly isolated from their community and unable to do things like meet with their children’s teachers or go to the grocery store with confidence—a gap GlobalEnglish’s platform will shrink. “For a long time we’ve been trying to think of how to serve this population,” says Josey. “This opens a lot of doors. The potential is enormous.”

In the case of New Women New Yorkers, many of the female immigrants it works with are at the other end of the spectrum: quite proficient in English on a conversational level. But they share a common challenge. New Women New Yorkers’ focus is to help young immigrant women secure their first paying, fulfilling job in NYC, in industries ranging from marketing to finance to data science. But “when it comes to working in English, speaking in English for job interviews, they feel less confident and have less vocabulary,” says CEO Arielle Kandel.

And while basic ESL classes abound in the city, participants have struggled to access options geared for learners with an intermediate level of English and with a Business English focus—exactly what GlobalEnglish offers. Kandel anticipates that arming these women with GlobalEnglish’s digital solution will be a “game-changer,” allowing them to study intermediate-level English when it is convenient for them and ultimately secure more job interviews and offers, better negotiate salary, and achieve promotions once they’re in the door.

If you’re interested in joining in on a discussion with GlobalEnglish and thought leaders in the realm of corporate social responsibility from Oracle Netsuite, Lyft, and various non-profits please attend our event Design for Social Impact (learn more here) or join the live stream by following GlobalEnglish’s Facebook page and tuning in on July 26th, 7:00 PM PST.

Read more about how Voice for All’s partner organizations were chosen here.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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