Online English Courses Help Displaced People Discover and Explore the Business World

Aleppo Compatriotic Charitable Organization (Aleppo-NGO) is currently implementing a project entitled “Yerevan MOOC Camp Coursera for Refugees.” Realized in part thanks to financial support from the U.S. Embassy, the course gives Syrian refugees in Armenia an opportunity to improve their knowledge of business English. The course is also open to local Armenians and to displaced individuals from other countries, with the aim of bolstering social-economic integration and their involvement in Armenia’s civic and public life.

Course participant Sayid Garek, a Syrian refugee who has difficulty moving around due to a disability, emphasized that “The online business English course has helped me to rediscover the business world. For the first time, I participated in the online course. It was vitally important to me because it allowed me to build new knowledge without requiring me to leave home. Now I am ready to share my new skills with others and to help them in their own work.”

Miria Bardakji, who studies design and hopes to someday own her own business, noted that the course has helped her not only to strengthen her knowledge of English but also has familiarized her with different tasks necessary for business ownership. If she does indeed eventually become an entrepreneur, she added, she will certainly use the knowledge and skills gained from this course.

Another displaced Syrian student who completed the course reflected that it helped her become familiar with a businessperson’s mindset, outlook, and habits–from developing a business plan to making adjustments to secure an enterprise’s success.

The “Yerevan MOOC Camp Coursera for Refugees” project has a total of sixty-six participants. They are enrolled in various Business English courses (Basic Business English, Business English, and English for Business and Entrepreneurship) conducted by the world’s best universities through the Coursera online education system. Upon completion of the course, all participants will be awarded a diploma, the cost of which will be covered by the U.S. Embassy in Armenia.

To supplement the online course and answer questions related to it, Aleppo-NGO also hired facilitators and language aides, who hold appointments with each participant at the Aleppo-NGO office, helping them enrol in online courses and assisting with the course material.

There are also computers for students’ use at Aleppo-NGO’s office to ensure accessibility for those without Internet or computer access at home.