Can Eminoğlu | 24 December 2021
Haysam is a twenty-four-year-old Syrian who lives with his brother in Turkey. He is currently a freshman at Ankara University, where he is studying health sciences. In spring 2021, he joined the Google Maharat min Programme, a new training initiative on digital marketing jointly launched by UNHCR and Google.
Expanding his horizons and thinking outside the box has always been Haysam’s way of life. “Knowledge is the best tool for self-development. For this reason, I am always keen to find new ways of extending the boundaries of what I know,” notes Haysam. This motivation has led him to join the Google digital skills training course, implemented by UNHCR’s NGO partner Habitat across fourteen cities in Turkey. “A friend of mine informed me about the digital marketing course,” he says. “I submitted my application and shortly after, I got accepted.”
Since his childhood, Haysam has tried to do things differently. When the time had come to choose his career path after high school, he noticed that most of his friends and members in his community were working in a specific sector, such as tailoring. This is when Haysam decided to choose a different path than his peers, enrolling at Damascus University to study pharmaceutical science.
After studying for two years, Haysam had to abandon his studies when the conflict broke out and he fled to Turkey. In his new life in Turkey, he never gave up on his dream of continuing his academic studies. “I tried every possible way to get back to university and studied hard to do well in the university entrance exams,” he says. “My hard work paid off and this year, I have been accepted to the Faculty of Health Science at Ankara University. I cannot describe how happy I am now.”
“I was really excited to join the Google training, as it finally provided me with the formal and more theoretical knowledge on digital marketing that I was lacking.”
Online marketing is one of Haysam’s main passions. Some years ago, he started working for companies specialized in digital marketing and programming, where he quickly developed his practical skills in the sector. He liked his experience so much so that he wanted to become a professional in digital marketing in parallel with his academic studies. “At the time, I learnt all the online tools by myself, without any formal training. Therefore, I was really excited to join the Google training, as it finally provided me with the formal and more theoretical knowledge on digital marketing that I was lacking,” he mentions. “In addition to this, I had the chance to learn how to develop and incorporate a digital marketing strategy in a prospect business plan.”
Because of the COVID-19 situation in Turkey, the Google training was provided remotely. For Haysam, this was not a particular challenge, as the virtual classes were nonetheless rich in content and dynamic. “The other participants and I actively engaged in the discussions, also thanks to the support of the trainer who provided follow-up sessions with us,” Haysam explains. The fruitful discussions also supported him on how to combine marketing with health sciences. “In the future,” he adds, “I can follow a career path where I can work on digital marketing in a health-related sector.”
As an important step of the initiative, UNHCR’s partner Habitat organized a virtual job fair for all training attendees in December. This provided Haysam and the other participants an opportunity to meet with possible prospect employers, learn about the available employment opportunities at different companies as well as exchange views on individual career plans.
The training and the job fair are part of UNHCR’s overall approach to provide livelihood opportunities to persons who have been forced to flee their homes and have found refuge in Turkey. In the same spirit, the Google-funded initiative will provide Haysam and the other participants the opportunity to strengthen their capacity to lead more independent and resilient lives.