We are all witnessing with deep pain the war currently happening in Ukraine.
So far, a total of 10 million people have now fled their homes in Ukraine according to the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) (6.5 million people in the country vs. 3.6 million have left it).
With all the different wars, conflicts, economic or environmental disasters happening throughout the globe, it is a record of 82.4 million people worldwide who have been forced to flee their homes in 2022.
Seeing those figures, one cannot stop but think:
Where are these people going? How can they settle in other countries?
How can they feel at home again in an unfamiliar place where they don’t speak the language?
Will they be able to integrate into the new country (language, culture, etc.)?
Will they have the strength to start everything again from scratch?
Fortunately, there are many initiatives supporting refugees and newcomers settling in a new country, be it on the administrative aspect, accommodation, employment, etc.
While the latter is key, it is as important to have a social group that can help them feel like they are welcomed in this city, that they belong here. Indeed, migrants and refugees tend to face ethnic and religious discrimination and xenophobia, leading to social exclusion.
This is where SPEAK comes in.
INTRODUCING YOU TO SPEAK.SOCIAL
SPEAK aims to contribute to eliminating the social exclusion of migrants and refugees. It is a programme to share linguistic and cultural knowledge. Through the programme, anyone can volunteer to teach a language and culture as well as participate as a student in learning a new language and culture.
The idea underpinning the project is to bring people of different backgrounds together in order to respond to the social challenge of migrants’ exclusion by breaking down the language barrier. The project also focuses on culture and community building. SPEAK’s model furthermore allows migrants to take the lead in teaching their language and culture, increasing their sense of self-esteem as they become part of the solution.
HOW DOES IT WORK?
Language groups & buddies
Language groups are hosted for up to 18 participants. The format encourages participants to get to know each other and thus create a support network while increasing their linguistic knowledge. Participants can also volunteer to give language lessons, called ‘Buddies’, and they are often also students in other courses (which they can attend for free).
Weekly events are also organised. These events are open to the community at large and aim to bring people together and build relationships between them, helping not only in their language development but also by including them in community life. The events can be of various types: linguistic exchanges, quizzes, treasure hunts, thematic dinners, etc.
INTERESTED IN LAUNCHING SPEAK.SOCIAL IN YOUR CITY?
SPEAK is a community of over 22,000 people spread across 19 cities in Europe. Since 2014, SPEAK has completed more than 630 courses, and its community has organised more than 270 events.
Today, the team is looking for franchisees to open SPEAK in 100 cities across Europe by 2025.
This might be your chance! Interested?
Apply HERE before May 31st!
If you need more information about the project before applying, here are a few things you can do:
Watch this Masterclass from SPEAK's co-founder, to learn more about SPEAK's Vision, Story, Impact, business model, the team's journey, main learnings and replication offer.