Dublin start-up SPEAK is aiming to help fight social isolation in Ireland during the Covid-19 pandemic, encouraging people to connect.
Social isolation is a critical problem in our society. The COVID-19 pandemic intensified this problem, especially for the most vulnerable populations, such as the elderly, migrants and refugees.
SPEAK, a social startup that promotes inclusive societies via language and cultural exchange experiences, moved their language sessions to an online model to fight the isolation barrier faced by many due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
SPEAK is connecting more than 6.000 people around the world, helping break the isolation barrier through language and cultural exchange experiences.
The positive impact of this model extends to refugee support too. With the help of the community, over the past few months hundreds of refugees in Greece, Italy, Portugal, Spain, Syria and the United Kingdom have participated in language and culture exchange experiences.
Maria Eduarda, a doctor and participant at SPEAK, shared her experience: “SPEAK has been a great help in my daily life. As a health professional, it is difficult for me to have the opportunity to learn a language in an intensive way without an online solution. During this pandemic, although I’m working every day at the hospital, I spend my free time online with SPEAK.
“I’m learning a lot and meeting really interesting people in the language groups. In these strange times that we live, SPEAK brings me a sense of normality, allowing me to socialize with people from all over the world and find out so much more about other cultures. I’m delighted to be part of this community! My experience with SPEAK has been exceptional!”
Ahmed, a refugee from Iraq, also shared his experience: “I am grateful that SPEAK is helping me and my family learn a language. The sessions they offer are great and make learning easy. We love how the sessions are hosted and appreciate SPEAK making us feel at home. We are very thankful for the help.”
SPEAK was founded in Portugal in 2014 and has been growing since. SPEAK is now in 27 cities in 12 different countries.
SPEAK was founded in Dublin in August and its founders Beatriz, Joana and Mariana are now eager to continue SPEAK’s mission of promoting inclusion and belonging now in Ireland.
SPEAK Dublin aims to help connect people during this challenging time that we all face, making sure that everyone can feel that they are part of a community no matter the distance, culture, age or gender.
Everyone can sign up to share or learn a language, and get to know new cultures, at www.speak.social, by choosing Dublin.