New mobile workshop initiative building children’s digital skills in rural Türkiye
The Mobile Makers Ateliers Programme, supported by UNICEF, expanded to include children and adolescents in earthquake-affected areas
Osmaniye, Türkiye – A new initiative building children’s digital skills in underserved or isolated communities in Türkiye will help to give students an equal chance at future job opportunities.
The ‘Mobile Makers Ateliers’ programme is designed to help tackle the issue of youth unemployment, with nearly one-quarter of young people in Türkiye not in employment, education or training. Young people often have less job security and are nearly three times as likely as adults to lose their jobs, according to a recent study.
Digital skills can help students find jobs and play a role in the economic productivity and growth of their communities.
Through ‘Mobile Makers Ateliers’, delivered by UNICEF in partnership with the Southeastern Anatolia Project Administration (GAP) and Türkiye Development Foundation (TKV), mobile vans are bringing technology workshops to children aged 10 to 14 years in remote and rural communities.
During the mobile workshops, children acquire digital, analytical-thinking and problem-solving skills.
Since the initiative launched in October last year, more than 1,600 children have already participated in the digital skills classes, including refugee children living in temporary settlements in Gaziantep, Şanlıurfa and Adıyaman.
After the devastating earthquakes in February, the initiative evolved to reach more students in affected provinces, including in Hatay, Kahramanmaraş, Osmaniye, Adıyaman and Diyarbakır.
In a further expansion, DELL Türkiye - Intel is now supporting additional classes for adolescents displaced by the disaster, in Mardin, Adıyaman, Şanlıurfa, Gaziantep and Kilis.
Through these additional classes with the support of DELL Türkiye - Intel, youth will acquire skills in basic computing, working with micro-computers, coding, robodics and 3D design and printing, using training kits designed at Harran University.
With DELL-Intel, UNICEF and implementing partners GAP and TKV will continue to operate a mobile team reaching children in rural and peri-urban areas where digital learning opportunities are limited.
The initiative is expected to run until June this year and may be extended.
Twelve-year-old Büşra was among the students joining a Mobile Makers workshop in Osmaniye.
“I had only seen robots on TV, but now I can work on my own robot - I cannot believe it,” she says, laughing.
For many students at the workshop, it was their first opportunity to work with technology, according to one of the facilitators.
“We are bringing these workshops to children in the most disadvantaged regions so that they also have the chance to experience technological literacy,” she says.
Another student at the workshop, Hüseyin, 13, reflected on how digital skills could expand his future career options. “After these workshops…maybe I can become an engineer in the future, so I get to work on bigger projects like this,” he says. “Maybe I could even become a computer engineer!”
A workshop facilitator said the process was also designed to help build the self-confidence of children and students.
“We try to let them learn-by-doing,” she explained. “We encourage them to figure out how to solve problems with the software and hardware themselves, so they grow more confident in their own skills and abilities.”
Hüseyin, who was working on an electrical circuit with his friend calls out. “Teacher, we did it! We had to try a few times, but it works now!” he says.