‘English 1 on 1′ making a difference across Western Washington

English 1 on 1 is a globally accessible nonprofit, but it wasn’t founded by a large company. Instead, it was the brainchild of a local eighth grader.

Maryam Kazmi says she wanted to make a difference in communities that lack access to English classes. In 2018, she began teaching English in her mosque. One year later, she was joined by her friend, Nikki Taleghani, and English 1 on 1 was born.

“Communication is such an important aspect of our daily lives, and not being able to communicate like Maryam mentioned can be very isolating. A lot of these people can’t communicate with both their families and in the work space and their day-to-day lives, so I wanted to join to take down that language barrier, which is one of our main missions,” co-founder Nikki Taleghani said.

Maryam and Nikki are both busy high school students, but they say they couldn’t ignore the fact that kids their age may not have the same opportunities as they do, and to also see their parents struggle.

“A lot of them had trouble finding jobs because of that and also couldn’t communicate with their own kids, which was super -difficult because their kids were learning English in school, but they felt like they were way far behind because they couldn’t really communicate with their own kids,” Kazmi said.

Each student’s path is different. Based on conversations with teachers, English 1 on 1 is customized to meet the students’ needs. Educators then use a variety of teaching methods, from flashcards to tutorial videos, to practice conversations.

When they’re not teaching, the nonprofit is hosting fundraisers and events, as well as partnering with schools to find more volunteers and add to their growing list of teachers, showing that no matter the age, you can make a difference.

“Even if we can’t reach everybody, just seeing that we’re making some sort of impact had been really, really rewarding,” said Nikki Taleghani.