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% live below the extreme poverty line (2010). Significant proportion of these children are isolated from their peers, particularly 18% do not go to school at all, while 12% go to special boarding schools. They are not even engaged in the society, 90% are not engaged in any sports or arts, 34% do not attend any event in their community, and 89% of children in extremely poor families do not attend any type of extracurricular activities. The lack of such opportunities can have an irreversible effect on the life outcomes of children with limited abilities if we do not invest in them. Therefore in 2013 Yerevan Hub launched “TUMOrrow” project, in cooperation with UNICEF and 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 kids from night-care residential institutions and low-income families got the opportunity to participate in classes with four focus areas: Animation, Game Development, Web Development and Digital Media. The children were also engaged in project-based learning, mastering new skills, getting motivated at lectures and other events. Later in 2013 Yerevan Hub won the “Coca-Cola Shaping a Better Future” challenge prize, which gave the opportunity to scale up the project to include the second group of kids with hearing impairments and the third group of kids from socially vulnerable families to also take classes in the above mentioned four focus areas. Thanks to this opportunity the number of engaged kids in the project increased to 45. Moreover, special learning modules were developed for the kids with hearing impairments. Motivating, mentoring, and coaching were an important part of the project, thus Yerevan Hub also initiated various entertaining and inspiring activities for the children beyond the classes including:
- Career and skill-based activities: By finding out the career choices of kids, different formal and informal meetings with respective professionals were organized. As a result, the kids got information, motivation, and inspiration regarding careers in the fields of sports, cooking, finance, IT etc.
- Cultural and self-development activities: Frequent cultural and heritage exploring days, self-development and non-formal education days were organized to increase the self-awareness of the kids, mentor and motivate them to be the changemakers for themselves.
Within 3 years of the project, 45 children received basic technical skills on the design and use of modern information and communication technologies. Moreover, the project helped to develop social, communication and thinking skills of the children by fully integrating them into the society. Over time kids showed positive progress, particularly for half of them the recorded performance was above average. After the project, 10 children 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 pupils and teachers: www.youtube.com/watch?v=Zwg7D2Hh4XY
- Provide opportunities for socially vulnerable children to unleash their creative potential through interacting with modern technologies.
- Promote social inclusion of vulnerable children by inspiring them, setting goals and realizing them with the help of peers.
- Help the disabled children to equally benefit from the existing opportunities.
- 45 children got a regular access to top quality education and were trained for technical skills on the design and use of modern technologies.
- 50% of the children recorded above average performance
- 10 children continued their studies at TUMO after the project and chose to pursue technology related majors in the universities.
Organizations and Stakeholders:
TUMO Center for Creative Technologies
The Coca-Cola Company
World Vision Armenia