The Palestinian start-up changing the way people learn Arabic

Sami Abu Heiba, the CEO and founder of GIL

An innovative approach

GIL, which stands for Grow Up in Language, is a Palestinian start-up founded by Sami Abu Heiba, an Arabic teacher. Building off his experience, Sami identified the best and most efficient way for students to learn languages: full-immersion. However, he was also aware that encouraging learners to join real-world conversations could enduce anxiety and reduce students’ performance. That’s why he set out to build GIL.

The idea behind GIL is to build an Arabic VR app to help international, travelers, students, and business learn Arabic by using interactive realistic scenarios based on 360 videos. One of GIL’s specificities is that it offers a variety of Arabic dialects, something most other Arabic courses fail to account for. Indeed, many Arabic learners are frustrated to find out that learning Modern Standard Arabic (MSA) is rarely useful when having informal, day-to-day conversations.

One of GIL’s specificity is its use of Virtual Reality (VR) to create an entirely new learning experience for its users. Through Automatic Speech Recognition (ASR) technology, the user, immersed into a real-life scenario through a VR headset or a phone, can get direct feedback on their speaking performance. These scenarios can range from booking a hotel room to ordering a falafel in the streets. All dialogues are double translitarated (in Arabic and English), allowing the learner to get a bird’s eye view of what’s going on. If you want to see how this works in action, check out GIL’s live demo by clicking right here.

Business model

GIL operates on the widespread “freemium” model. Users get to complete their first learning unit for free, and then pay a monthly/yearly subscription if they wish to continue.

Next steps

Sami was recently a guest on the GrowHome Show, pitching GIL to four high caliber investors from the Palestinian diaspora. Here were some of the key takeways.

GIL’s key value propositions:

Current traction:

More info

To learn more about GIL’s technology, its business model, and its goals for the future, feel free to listen to GIL’s episode on the GrowHome Show, during which Sami was questionned by our 4 diaspora investors.

Contact GIL

If you are interested in using, investing or simply learning more about GIL, feel free to reach out to the GIL team at or at +972 (56) 900–1222.

Connect with Sami on LinkedIn.

Who are we?

GrowHome is a platform connecting diasporas to entrepreneurs back home. The problem we’re trying to solve is twofold: on one hand, diasporas often gain professional and financial resources abroad which they want to share with people back home, but they have no easy way to do so. On the other hand, entrepreneurs in emerging countries have incredible talent, but lack access to business opportunities. On GrowHome, diasporas can mentor, collaborate and fund entrepreneurs from their home countries.

Join our diaspora waiting list at

We are launching our BETA product in Jordan and Palestine, early 2021.

To get updated on our progress, follow us on Instagram, LinkedIn, Youtube.

Listen to the GrowHome podcast on Spotify, in which our founder Marwan Abdelhamid host a sort of “Palestinian Shark Tank” show.

We also organize events connecting diaspora organizations to entrepreneurs back home. If you want us to organize one for your organization, please contact us at



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A start-up connecting diasporas to entrepreneurs back home. Sign up as either a diaspora or an entrepreneur at