Michael Mersiades

Milton, Queensland

Applied linguist, tech entrepreneur

For people from refugee backgrounds, mastering English is critical to building a new life in Australia. Good English means more access to jobs, education and community activities, but often this is hard to achieve through formal lessons alone. To help, Michael has built Chatloop – a messaging app that connects refugees to trained volunteers for English practice. Pairs conduct a language activity together using text or voice messages. Sending a few messages each day, this enables generous yet busy Australians to make a difference and gives language learners a regular drip feed of authentic practice. Michael will develop Chatloop and turn it into a self-sustaining social enterprise.