>> It's a refugee running this language tuition session today, not the other way around. Hekma is teaching her native Arabic to a British student. She has joined a growing number of newly arrived degree educated refugees that a new startup called Chatterbox has employed to teach their mother tongue.
SOAS University of London is the first to sign students up for these conversational practice sessions, but the company hopes that the service will spread to other universities and workplaces. Hekma fled war in Sudan two years ago. She was once a human rights lawyer, and this is her first job since claiming asylum.
She says losing her career is still very painful.>> It's not an easy option when you just start from zero, from the beginning, and you have all that experience. It's really frustrating. At the Ministry of Startups, the idea was hatched by Mercy Hades. She now employees 31 tutors, teaching languages from Korean to Farsi.
She watched her mother struggle as a refugee, when her family left Afghanistan when she was four years old. A civil engineer by practice, her mother used her language skills to find meaningful employment.>> The tragedy of having to leave her things, her family, her society, was compounded by the fact that the arrival that she had in the UK was peppered with disappointments.
Being disappointed not to be able to go on practicing the profession that she had dedicated her life to.>> One of the most popular tutors is Muna Assad from Damascus. She was an architect before fleeing Syria just over a year ago. Teaching may not have been her chosen path, but it's given her a sense of worth and belonging, something that's often lost when you've been displaced.