TUMOrrow: Empowering Teenagers

According to official data, there are around 8,000 registered disabled children in Armenia, 41.4% of which are poor and almost 5% who live below the extreme poverty line. A significant proportion of these children are isolated from their peers and from society, not attending school or any social activities. The lack of opportunities can have irreversible effects on the life of children.

To address this issue, the Yerevan Hub launched the “TUMOrrow” project in 2013, in cooperation with UNICEF and the TUMO Center for Creative Technologies in Yerevan. TUMO provides an innovative and creative learning environment where students aged 12-18 take proactive actions and oversee their own learning. Within the first phase of the project, 20 children from night-care residential institutions and low-income families had the opportunity to participate in classes around four focus areas: Animation, Game Development, Web Development and Digital Media. Students were also engaged in project-based learning, lectures and other events.

In late 2013, Yerevan Hub won the “Coca-Cola Shaping a Better Future” challenge prize, which gave Shapers the opportunity to scale up the project to include a second group of kids with hearing impairments and a third group from socially vulnerable families. The hub was also able to develop special learning modules specifically for the children with hearing impairments. Within 3 years of the project, 45 children received basic technical skills on the design and use of modern information and communication technologies. The project also helped children develop social, communications and thinking skills by fully integrating them into society.

After the project, 10 students continued attending TUMO center and entered universities to pursue technology-related studies. Elizabeth Hambardzumyan, one of the children engaged in our project, was a speaker at TEDxKids@Yerevan event in 2014, where she spoke about the relationship between students and teachers (