Using gamification and mass events to train young people with disabilities in IT skills

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ITeachMe Competence Development Centre, Kazakhstan: Aims to empower socially vulnerable persons with disabilities. From 2019-2023, established partnerships with 100+ enterprises, with over 90% of graduates gaining employment.

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Zakhira Begaliyeva Website
“Real strength lies not in the strength of the body, but in the strength of the spirit.” Ms. Zakhira Begaliyeva, Director, ITeachMe

In 2019, the ITeachMe Competence Development Centre, based in Kazakhstan, launched the ITeachMe Competence Development Centre, aimed at people with disabilities and from socially vulnerable segments of the population. ITeachMe project has developed an innovative training methodology based on gamification and mass events, and at the end of the training participants gain a digital profession and employment. Since 2019 the foundation has established partnerships with more than 100 enterprises, and more than 90 per cent of project graduates have become successfully employed.

Problems Targeted

There is a lack of accessible educational and employment opportunities for people with disabilities in Kazakhstan, combined with stereotypes about disabilities.

Solution, Innovation and Impact

The ITeachMe project is a free training course targeting persons with disabilities, using an innovative training method. The project is organized as a series of entertaining events in which online games are the main learning tool. The goal is to teach digital skills at a level that enables participants to find employment, and the project has had a success rate of 90 per cent. Every year there is new wave of the ITeachMe project participants, and each year there are more applications and high results. In 2023 the project hosted more than 50 information tours throughout Kazakhstan, and 20 ‘ambassadors’ from all regions of the country contributed to the project’s ‘hip factor’. The project is also unique in that it offers young people the opportunity to monetize their skills while still learning. This allows students to put their knowledge into practice and gain work experience by working inside the academies of the employment centre, where they will train in all stages of the career ladder – from creating a resume to passing an interview and receiving a first salary. Zakhira Begaliyeva, founder of ITeachMe, is a person with disabilities since birth, as well as the fact that 40 per cent of all ITeachMe employees are people with disabilities or come from other disadvantaged backgrounds.

Funding, Outlook and Transferability

The business model of the ITeachMe project is based on partnerships with educational institutions and other organizations (including for example PwC Kazakhstan or Shell Kazakhstan) to secure funding or sponsorship, as well as various donors and grantors. The ITeachMe Foundation intends to further scale the model, and it plans to develop additional sources of income, such as affiliate programmes, to ensure its long-term financial sustainability. (Awardee 2024)



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    Zakhira Begaliyeva

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