Starting over in a new country can disrupt many aspects of a person’s life–especially their education. When Mr. Khalid Akil and his family came to Türkiye from Syria after the start of the war, he noticed a need for educational services to support other Syrians in Türkiye who hadn’t been able to finish their education. In 2016, he established Gharbatna Center for Training and Development (Ask Eğtim), with the aim of providing training courses for Syrians to enable them to complete their studies and qualify them to find suitable opportunities in the labor market.
Originally, most of the training courses were provided free of charge, thanks to support from Syrians living abroad. Additionally, a grant from the Dutch Embassy allowed the company to implement training programs in journalism, photography, and web design. In total, 57 trainees benefitted from these programs, half of whom were women. The company also developed training courses for more than 20 people with special needs. “We believe that a disability shouldn’t be an obstacle to people from working and being productive in the community,” says Mr. Akil.
Like many businesses, Ask Eğtim experienced challenges during the COVID-19 pandemic. Courses completely stopped for six months, but the company was able to quickly pivot its services to offer distance learning, organizing an e-Marketing course with the Gaziantep Chamber of e-Commerce. Now, in-person courses have resumed in the Gaziantep training center.
Through Building Markets, Mr. Akil learned new skills that helped him grow his business. After attending training sessions on how to apply for tenders, he started visiting Building Markets’ tender webpage daily and applied to different opportunities. He has been able to win more tenders with NGOs and the local Chamber of Commerce. According to Mr. Akil, mentorship sessions with Building Markets were also beneficial. “The information provided helped me integrate into the Turkish market and expand my programs.” As a result, the company is growing, and plans to include new programs like vocational training courses and pursue partnerships with training centers in different locations, including Istanbul!
In addition to changing the lives of students, Mr. Akil says his business has changed his life. “Ask Eğtim helped me gain new experience and refine my previous experiences in a new field that I had always aspired to work in. It also proved to me the importance of perseverance and the will to succeed in all aspects of life. My advice to entrepreneurs is to analyze opportunities and market conditions to be able to adapt and succeed.”
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