Türk Telekom Corporate Social Responsibility Approach: “Accessible Communication for All”
Across Turkey, Türk Telekom Group provides information technologies - the main driving force behind sustainable economic growth and social development.
In addition to the products and services it develops, Türk Telekom aims to provide access to information to all segments of society that cannot fully participate in social life due to economic, social or physical reasons. Accordingly, it executes projects under the principal of “Accessible Communication for All”.
Türk Telekom supports the United Nations Sustainable Development goals through its business processes and corporate social responsibility projects.
Our projects such as Life is Simple with Internet, Telephone Library, Sunshine, Sunshine at School, Loud Steps, The Next Generation Project, Bridge to the Future, Türk Telekom Schools, Türk Telekom Amateur Sports Clubs are carried out under the roof of “Türkiye’ye Değer (Value to Turkey)” brand.
Life is Simple with the Internet: 50 thousand people gained internet literacy
Life is Simple with the Internet project pioneering in the introduction to the online world of those who do not know and benefit from the opportunities offered by the Internet, is implemented in cooperation with Türk Telekom, Habitat Association and United Nations Development Program (UNDP).
Target group of the project, which was launched to provide everyone an equal opportunity to access information by eliminating regional and economic inequalities, is the adults over 25 of age lacking or with limited internet skills and who live in 81 provinces, primarily the provinces with development priority. Priority is given to women in the target group. 50,000 people have been trained in the first phase of the project initiated in 2014.
In 2013, Türk Telekom became the first company which was accepted to the Business Call to Action (BCtA), an institution of United Nations (UN), due to the fact that the Project was chosen as an example one for United Nations Inclusive Business Models and the project was included in the 20 sample project list of 2014 by the UN. The project was cited as an example to the world in the “Digital Citizenship” panel at the “Social Good Summit” held within the scope of the United Nations General Assembly Week held in New York in 2015. While published as an article in the Harvard Business Review journal in 2016, the project was also published in “The Guardian” newspaper as a unique example in the field from Turkey. The project was invited as a successful application to the sustainability themed conference at the World Summit on the Information Society 2017 (WSIS) organized by the International Telecommunications Union (ITU) and the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD). In the report prepared by Inclusive Business Action Network (iBAN) and United Nations Development Program (UNDP) at the G20 Summit held in Argentina in 2018, it was selected among the best 47 projects carried out in 2018.
Telephone Library: If the books talk, disabilities disappear
Following the principle of providing equal access to information, Türk Telekom launched Turkey’s first Telephone Library project - in collaboration with Boğaziçi University’s Technology and Education Laboratory for the Visually Impaired (GETEM) in 2011. Thanks to the Telephone Library Project, visually impaired Türk Telekom customers can access hundreds of audiobooks for free by dialing 0 800 219 91 91 from their home phones or mobile application with the passwords they received after subscription to GETEM free of charge.
The Telephone Library consists of over a thousand audio books and other content in more than 50 categories, including poetry, novels, history, personal development, and practice exams, as well as movies with narration. Users can mark their place in an audio book and resume listening from the same point, rewind or fast forward, as well as slow down or speed up audiobook playback, and find books easily via the audio menu.
There is also a descriptive gallery of 20 famous paintings in the Telephone Library.
In order to ensure that the visually impaired people can follow the agenda, leading news stories of Anadolu Agency were integrated with the library.
Cash recognition feature was added to Türk Telekom’s Telephone Library app developed for the visually impaired acquired a banknote recognition feature in order to make the visually impaired’s lives easier. The cash recognition function allows the visually impaired to make payments with ease at shops, supermarkets and in taxis, or whenever required, even when they are offline. This is currently Turkey’s one and only cash recognition app.
Telephone Library was listened to for more than 7.5 million minutes, and the mobile app was downloaded 25 thousand times and Voice to Books app -making it easier for volunteers to read out books for the visually impaired- was downloaded more than 24 thousand times.
At the 16th edition of the Gold Compass Turkey Public Relations Awards organized by Turkish Public Relations Association (TÜHİD), the Telephone Library/Talking Paintings app was awarded with the Special Jury Prize. With its contribution to equal opportunities in access to information and the elimination of inequalities, the Telephone Library, which supports sustainable development goals, was accepted to the United Nations Business Call to Action (BCtA) program for its support for the social participation of disadvantageous/low-income groups. At the prestigious European award event, the “European Excellence Awards”, the “Talking Paintings” project received Turkey’s Best Project Award and at the world's most prestigious PR award SABRE it was awarded as Turkey’s Best Project.
Sunshine Project: Low vision children are also involved in life
Launched in 2014, the Sunshine Project is designed to provide assistance at an early stage to children with limited vision so that they can live without dependency on others, and attend integrated schools, instead of schools for the visually impaired.
In Turkey children who have a low vision rate under a certain threshold are normally classified as “fully blind” and sent to schools for the visually impaired. The Sunshine Project helps to identify the vision level of children with visual impairment and to increase the awareness to use their visual skills effectively. The Sunshine Project is the only such project in Turkey offering distance early response education thanks to Türk Telekom’s technology and infrastructure. To date, 900 visually impaired students from 62 provinces have been given low vision education. Within the framework of this project, Türk Telekom developed and launched the Sunshine Game application, which aims to help children with limited sight improve their visual abilities and eye-hand coordination. To date, the application has been downloaded 2 thousand times. Sunshine Games advanced to finals at the Glomo GSMA 2018 awards, one of the most prestigious awards in the GSM industry.
The Sunlight Project was deemed worthy of the “Best Social Responsibility Project” award at the Best Business Awards, organized by UK’s prestigious award and assessment company Awards Intelligence.
Sunshine at School Project: Sunshine project now reaches schools
Türk Telekom has brought a new dimension to the Sunshine project, which it continues with the Association for Living Without Barriers (EyDER). Türk Telekom has started the Sunshine at School project for low vision children as a continuation of the Sunshine project. Within the scope of this project, students, parents, teachers, and administrators are provided with “Low Vision Training” in basic education schools where low vision children graduates of Sunshine education continue. Within the scope of the project, for the training which will last for 2 years and 4 education terms, a total of 50 schools have been selected from different regions of Turkey in 11 provinces. It is aimed to reach approximately 5,000 trainers at the end of the project period.
Through theoretical and practical studies, the development of low vision children will be supported and educational applications will be made showing the difference between total blind and those with low vision. In this way, Sunshine children who have the chance to enroll in the same schools with their non-disabled peers will continue their education by eliminating all obstacles thanks to the awareness of teachers in these schools. Via the Sunshine at School project, the aim is having the concept of low vision to be recognized at the country level and preventing the perception of low vision children as blind.
In the first year, Kars, İstanbul, Kütahya, İzmir, Siirt, Uşak, Ordu, Ankara, Eskişehir, Antalya, Tekirdağ provinces were chosen for the project. With practical lessons and visual presentations to be held with the manager, branch teachers, and assistant teachers; seminars on educational evaluation and training processes will be organized.
The results of Sunshine at School Project will be reported at schools level and shared with Ministry of Education. It is aimed to expand Sunshine at School education and increase social awareness.
Loud Steps: Visually and hearing impaired people gain mobility
Loud Steps developed by Türk Telekom is a smartphone app that allows the visually and hearing impaired to navigate complex structures such as shopping malls, campuses, and airports without requiring outside assistance. The app allows the visually impaired to find their destination in public areas by themselves without the assistance of others, and to comprehend their surrounding at any given moment. The project was launched in 2014.
As an operator independent app, the Loud Steps provided voice only directions to the visually impaired in initially over their smartphones depending on their location; but started to provide this service to the hearing impaired through simple icons in 2017. The app is available in 47 buildings such as Chicago Lighthouse, İstanbul Technical University, Kars Governor’s Office, Ulu Mosque, San Francisco Lighthouse and Ministry of Youth and Sports. The app has been downloaded by 30 thousand individuals and used 200 thousand times to date. In 2018, the Voice Steps application, which was provided free of charge in Turkish and English, expanded the number of languages supported by including German and Arabic.
The Next Generation Project
The project targets to speed up the process of Turkey's adaptation to the Industry 4.0, the growth of the software industry in Turkey and to serve the development of the innovation market and also to invest in human resources to produce smart technology.
The Project was implemented in cooperation with Türk Telekom, Microsoft Turkey and Habitat Association in 2018.
The project is consistent with the titles educated people, technology, infrastructure and users determined as targets in the Digital Turkey Road Map prepared by the Ministry of İndustry and Technology.
Within the scope of the project, 350 young people enrolled in vocational colleges and vocational high schools are given provinces 16-hour face-to-face trainings by using IoT kits by 35 volunteer trainers from 81 pilot provinces in 14 pilot provinces.
Trainings are also offered free of charge to everyone through Microsoft Open Academy and TT Academy.
Bridge to the Future Project
Bridge to the Future Project was launched in 2018 with the cooperation of Türk Telekom, Human and Civilization Foundation and Sakarya University in order to enable Syrian refugees involved in social life in our country to adapt to society through language and vocational trainings and to sustain their lives at ease when they return to their countries.
In the first stage, 7,000 applications were made from Istanbul only and 400 people were selected among the applicants. Subjects of training were determined as Basic Turkish Education, Coding and Web Design, Photography and Videography, Journalism and Writing.
With the project, In 2018, 400 people received language and vocational training.
Major investments in education
Türk Telekom is implementing one of the largest social responsibility projects ever implemented in the field of education. With the Türk Telekom Schools Project, a modern educational environment for students is provided in 78 Türk Telekom education buildings, 54 of which are schools, established all over Turkey, mostly in the East and Southeast.
Every year thousands of students graduate from these schools and educational buildings that are transferred to the Ministry of National Education, students who are successful in studying here but are not financially able to are given scholarships by Türk Telekom every year.
Support to amateur athletes
Türk Telekom invests in the future of Turkey by supporting amateur athletes in many different categories throughout the country, taking into account the positive contribution of sports to the development of young people.
There are hundreds of young people who represent Turkey with success by being selected to a national team among 5,312 athletes in 32 branches from 44 provinces, from basketball to fencing, athletics to badminton.