Founder of SPEAK Dhaka.
I came to know about SPEAK two years ago from a friend of mine, who participated at one of SPEAK’s Portuguese Language Group and found it very interesting! He suggested me to join the group several times, but life got in the way, as sometimes it does.
While I lost the first opportunity to connect with SPEAK, I was still able to learn about the organisation when, a year later, I attended the event Hello Portugal Festival. The event focuses on Migration and Integration, and where I met Hugo, SPEAK co-founder. Hugo is very passionate about the topic of migration and social integration and we talked about how we could work together.
Building a partnership.
Together we built a partnership with the Portugal Multicultural Academy and SPEAK and created language groups. I found that very impressive and mind-blowing. It helps immigrants, international students, expats and refugees to learn a new language, culture and history of different nations. As a result, it allows them to be more integrated in their new city. In general, I find integration as one of the main barriers for a newcomer when arriving in a new city and which SPEAK can help foster that process.
Creating SPEAK Dhaka.
That’s what lead me to start a SPEAK Chapter in Dhaka, Bangladesh. We are about 20 million people living in the megacity of Dhaka. The young generation wants to migrate for better job opportunities, to study and to settle around the world and SPEAK can help. When joining a SPEAK language group, individuals learn more about the world and different languages and cultures. A group can also help them to feel more familiar when arriving in a new place.
SPEAK not only helps with the language but also in sharing different experiences and ideas, where, in a few months, you can get a clearer idea of different cities around the world. When participating in SPEAK, people can make new friends and join a community and can share their own story. Moreover, others will understand and accept them for who they are.
There are about 500 thousand newcomers living in Bangladesh as skilled and semi-skilled workers. There are also around 1.5 million refugees, mostly from Myanmar. For this reason, SPEAK can be a bridge to connect them with locals and make them aware of the language, culture and values of our country.