When Syrian refugee teens observed professionals serving their community, their roles as doctors, artists, educators reinforced their dreams for the future. These teens boldly stepped forward to request a training program tailored to their interests. They spoke and our grantee, Karam, listened and the Karam Leadership Program (KLP) was born.
Rather than training in hairdressing and sewing, as often offered in developing communities, Syrian refugee youth declared they wanted to be doctors, journalists, programmers, and architects when they grew up! Blossom Hill applauds the courage of these youth and proudly sponsors their interests through the KLP. The KLP was established by the tireless efforts of numerous volunteers, many of which have ties to Syria or have Syrian ethnicity. This committed group secured a space in the Salam high school to build a computer laboratory. They quickly got computers and equipment shipped within one week to Turkey, despite arrival to a conflict zone located near the Syrian border over 2.5 hours by plane and car combined from Istanbul.
“I learned new things that were actually in me [during the coding workshops], said Ali, a 16 year-old refugee participant, “like they were inside of me and I never knew I had them.”
As Blossom Hill Foundation donors, you helped the KLP train 300 teenagers within an intensive two-week program followed by five months of continued practice in navigating the internet, learning computer coding, practicing public speaking, and exercising journalistic skills. A particularly exciting challenge of the program for these Syrian teens that gave them an entrepreneurial spark, was learning to speak from a journalistic, neutral voice and to give a two minute elevator pitch. Their next request was Turkish instruction to help them have a voice in the new land in which they find themselves. These teens truly embraced the program, without any desire for breaks.
We are humbled and proud to report that our investment as a foundation in the KLP is already paying off quantitatively and qualitatively. This past April, forty teen participants were eligible for job placement, of which 14 were offered employment in tech-related positions. Teens who were not selected expressed gratitude for the experience, saying they had learned a great deal about how to present themselves and how that skill and discipline would serve them for the future. Please support Blossom Hill so that together we can empower more incredible youth to break the cycle of violence their societies face.
Blossom Hill Foundation
Investing in peace through innovation.