An SDG Pioneer for Supporting Refugees through Mobile Technology

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More than three million Syrians have sought refuge in Turkey. And when Kaan Terzioğlu, CEO of Turkcell, which offers digital and fixed internet connectivity in 192 countries, pondered how to help, he responded with a unique solution.

In 2016, Kaan saw an opportunity to use technology to relieve the suffering of the refugee population — half of which are Turkcell’s customers. He created “Hello Hope,” a mobile app that helps Syrian refugees learn Turkish and access key health and education services. In addition, he is working with Turkey’s relief agencies to bring technology-enabled classrooms and other critical resources to refugee villages in Turkey.

To date, refugees have downloaded the Hello Hope app more than 400,000 times to access instant voice translation (5.6 million uses), Turkish language flash cards (260 million views), frequently asked questions to get critical information on registration, as well as access to health and education services.

To help Turkey’s new residents further integrate into society, Kaan and Turkcell are working closely with Prodea Systems, AFAD (Turkey’s Authority for Disaster and Emergency Management) and Turkish Red Crescent, to bring fiber connectivity, technology classrooms and education content to refugee camps. One such pilot project has begun in the Kahramanmaras camp.

In 2017, at the Global System Mobile Association’s Mobile World Congress, the international organization of 800 mobile operators and 300 ecosystem players, Turkcell received the GSMA’s “Outstanding Contribution to Mobile Industry Award” for its work with Syrian refugees.

Kaan is an outspoken advocate for using mobile and other technologies to help improve the lives of the less advantaged. Turkcell has also raised awareness about refugee integration issues through an advertising campaign on CNBC Europe, multiple public relations campaigns in Turkey as well as an interview with the broadcast news network CNN.

About Kaan Terzioğlu

Kaan Terzioğlu is CEO of Turkcell, a company offering digital services and connectivity on mobile and fixed networks in 192 countries. He has led the digital operator since April 2015. Kaan also serves on the board GSMA, and is a vocal advocate of using the power of communication to benefit disadvantaged groups, including refugees and individuals with disabilities.

Under Kaan’s leadership, Turkcell is providing connectivity in humanitarian emergencies and disaster areas. This includes services for over 1.4 million Syrian refugees living in Turkey. The company’s Hello Hope app for Syrian refugees and My Dream Companion app for visually impaired individuals have received international recognition for their empowerment. Kaan is also involved with efforts to bring technology-enabled classrooms and other critical resources to refugee villages in his native Turkey.

Prior to joining Turkcell, Kaan Terzioğlu was a board member of Turkey’s leading financial, insurance and retail companies.

Turkcell Iletisim Hizmetleri A.S. is a member of Global Compact Network Turkey


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