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Time to Learn Arabic!

Mageed points to Sudan, his home country.

African Community Learning Program students received Arabic lessons from their Sudanese peers on Wednesday, January 24, 2018. With Mageed as their group leader, Motaz, Abdulrahman, and Ezzeldin wrote on the board both in Arabic and English. Arabic is among the top five spoken languages in the world. In Africa, it’s a common tongue in countries like Morocco, Egypt, Algeria, and Sudan.

“‘Markharban is ‘hello,’” Mageed began.

“‘Keyfa’ is ‘how are you?’

“‘Aziz’ means ‘nice or old friend’”

“‘Farkhan’ is ‘happy.”

Mahal salama is “bye’”

Mageed went on to teach counting in Arabic from one to ten.

“Wahid’ is ‘one ...’"

Mageed presents on Arabic along with Abdulrahman and Motaz.

Then I asked to hear from the other group members.

“Abdulrahman, I didn’t hear you yet. Can you teach us something?”

He quietly said a sentence in Arabic holding on to his brother, Mageed, bright eyed with an amused expression. He then translated, “You are excited.”

When he joined African Community Learning Program (ACLP) in fall 2017, Abdulrahman communicated with me through body language or Mageed, who translated for us. However, now he is expressing himself in complete English sentences.

Motaz's writing on the broad.

Motaz preferred writing his Arabic sentence translated in English on the board. It read, ‘Ana min Sudan;’ ‘I am from Sudan.’”

ACLP volunteer Aminata Traore asked how to say “thank you” in Arabic.

“Shukran,” Mageed replied.

While nodding and smiling, Aminata said, “Shukran,” to our presenters.

Mageed shared a video of him along with some words of encouragement to his peers. During the 2016-2017 school year, he participated in a WHYY’s essay contest in which he beat out thousands other of Pennsylvania students and was featured in a video. He has been learning English for about seven years now, but his achievement with WHYY boosted his confidence.

“You can take me as an example,” he said. “Even though you are new to the U.S., you can still do big things.”

Aminata Sy is the founder and president of African Community Learning Program, a journalist, and a rising junior at the University of Pennsylvania, where she studies international relations and English.

African Community Learning Program educates, connects, empowers, and supports people of African background in West Philadelphia.

To support African Community Learning Program visit and

or email Aminata Sy at

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