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A virtual convening of the NLG Tech Task Force featuring the Maharat Center in Turkey, an initiative launched by International Medical Corps and supported by HP LIFE to address the needs of the refugee youth in Turkey.
In this session, Erica Tavares, Senior Director, Institutional Advancement with the International Medical Corps, and Debbie Ledbetter, HP LIFE Global Program Manager with the HP Foundation, will provide an overview of the Maharat Center and HP LIFE training, and highlight key learnings and opportunities, which can help inform future iterations of this program and collaborations with the NLG Tech Task Force members.
UNHCR estimates there will be 2.75 million Syrian refugees in Turkey this year, and it’s estimated that over half of refugees from Syria are under 18. Without the opportunity to access education and other opportunities since the onset of the conflict, many of the refugee youth are not equipped with the skills required to find employment in Turkey. To help address this gap, in May 2016 and with the support of UNHCR, International Medical Corps opened a Livelihood center called the Maharat Center in Istanbul.
The Maharat Center is an extension of International Medical Corps’ multi-service centers, a one-stop-shop providing social, legal, health, psychosocial support services and recreational activities. The Maharat Center also provides skills-training including language classes and professional courses in various areas of business, IT, communications, health, and finance. HP is supporting the Maharat Center by providing laptops, desktop computers, and printers as well as e-learning training via HP LIFE, a portfolio of free online business, and IT skills training.
The skills-training offered are complemented with mentorships, internships, and apprenticeships that together empower youth, and adults to gain employable skills. Over a recent eight-month period, some 800 youth accessed the center, to receive life skills and entrepreneurship training.
To ensure successful employment, International Medical Corps has been coordinating with the Turkish Labor Agency, ISKUR, and the Istanbul Chamber of Commerce to develop programs aligned with current livelihood and employment opportunities in the local market.
Erica Tavares, Senior Director, Institutional Advancement, International Medical Corps
Debbie Ledbetter, HP LIFE Global Program Manager, HP Foundation
Leila Toplic, NLG Tech Task Force