Darüşşafaka High School, founded in 1863, strives to serve education and entrepreneurialism to orphaned children. Located in Istanbul’s European sector, it is a non-profit institution, dependent on donations to stay open. The school’s technology and science centre was opened in June 2013, and has been working with young people like Zuleyha to encourage the following of dream projects.
“Impediments to our education prevent us from being successful at the PISA’s [Programme for International Student Assessment] test,” said project manager Meltem Ceylan Alibeyoglu. “Our education system has not been structured around experiencing knowledge directly through labs. What we aim to accomplish with this center is to overcome this.”
As part of the project, students are paired and are tasked to come up with a business idea, which they will then present it to a jury. Having passed this section with flying colours, Ms Cakir and her team took their winning innovation to Eminonu, an area of Istanbul with a large amount of commerce and retail.
Ms Cakir, a budding engineer, said: “Those wholesalers were surprised to see young girls at their shops, bargaining to get large sums of shoelaces! We have sold our first batch of products to teachers. Profits will be donated to the school’s budget; I believe I can do something on entrepreneurship after graduation.”