Corporate Social Responsibility
In its social responsibility activities, Türk Telekom focuses on providing equal opportunities by deploying the means offered by technology to eliminate the economic, social, regional or physical disadvantages in accessing information.
Türk Telekom sees everyone’s equal participation in social life and access to information as its priority, and considers its contribution to our country’s digital transformation as its corporate responsibility.
Working with the principle of “accessible communication for all”, Türk Telekom, has adopted the Sustainable Development Goals of the United Nations as its guiding principles. The company carries out corporate social responsibility projects that add value to Turkey, particularly within the framework of the “Quality Education” and “Reduced Inequalities” goals.
Türk Telekom implemented various social responsibility projects under the “Türkiye’ye Değer” (Turkey is Worth All Our Efforts) mindset
Among the social responsibility projects Türk Telekom conducted in accordance with its motto of “Bir fark yeter, Türkiye’ye Değer” (Even the smallest difference matters, Turkey is Worth All Our Efforts), include “Hedefi Olan Kadına İnternetle Hayat Kolay” (Life is Simple with the Internet for the Woman with Goals), “Telefon Kütüphanesi” (Books on the Phone), “Günışığı” (Sunshine), “Sesli Adımlar” (Loud Steps), “Okulumda Günışığı” (Sunshine at Schools), “Yeni Nesil Gelecek” (The Next Generation Project), “Türk Telekom Okulları” (Türk Telekom Schools) and the “Türk Telekom Amatör Spor Kulüpleri” (Türk Telekom Amateur Sports Clubs).
Local social responsibility activities organised by the Türk Telekom Provincial Directorates are also conducted within the scope of “Türkiye’ye Değer”.
The “Life is Simple with the Internet for the Woman with Goals” Project develops women’s digital marketing knowledge and capacities
Türk Telekom launched the “İnternetle Hayat Kolay” (Life is Simple with the Internet) project in 2014 with the objective of making information technologies accessible for everyone, viewing information technologies as the main driving factor for sustainable development and economic growth. Within the scope of the project, the company provided internet literacy training to more than 50 thousand participants with 300 volunteers over 5 years. Türk Telekom supports the participation of women in the country’s economy as entrepreneurs in the new phase of the Life is Simple with the Internet project.
In addition to being an important element of sustainable development, women’s participation in the workforce and employment is also of great importance in ensuring continuity of economic growth and fully achieving social development and social justice. The existence of a sustainable economy is possible with the full and equal participation of men and women in all areas of social life.
These findings clearly reveal that women should make effective use of information and communication technologies and strengthen their digital skills in order not to be alienated from today’s rapidly changing world.
Serving the country’s digital transformation, Türk Telekom implemented the “Life is Simple with the Internet for the Women with Goals” project in September 2019 with the aim of improving women’s knowledge in areas such as information and communication technologies, e-services and e-commerce. The Company carried out this project in cooperation with the Union of Chambers and Commodity Exchanges of Turkey (TOBB), the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and the Habitat Association.
The “Life is Simple with the Internet for the Women with Goals” Project was initiated to introduce women who have an idea or product they wish to sell with the opportunities offered by online platforms, and to improve women’s knowledge of e-commerce. The project is aimed at encouraging women with entrepreneurial potential to participate in the production economy by enhancing their skills to effectively use the information technologies and digital platforms.
With the “Digital Marketing Trainings” provided to project participants, women are expected to increase their knowledge and skills in regards to marketing, digital marketing, market research, social media tools, advertising and payment systems. The Design-Oriented Thinking Workshops are organised with the participants who benefit from the training and achieve progress. In these workshops, women develop their skills of generating innovative solutions, rational and analytical research, user-oriented perspective and problem solving. After the training and workshops, women are offered mentorship support to improve their businesses.
“Digital Marketing Trainings” provided within the scope of the project reached 4 thousand women by the end of 2020. Within the scope of the project, Türk Telekom aims to introduce digital marketing to 5 thousand women in Turkey’s 81 provinces by June 2021.
Another barrier-removing first by Türk Telekom: Now medicines are also talking thanks to the Telefon Kütüphanesi
The Telefon Kütüphanesi is a service provided free of charge which allows the visually impaired to access audio books and a variety of content via their phone. Turkey’s first Telefon Kütüphanesi, offered in cooperation with the Boğaziçi University Visually Impaired Technology and Education Laboratory (GETEM), has been removing barriers in accessing information for the visually impaired for 9 years.
The library has nearly 2 thousand audiobooks and content in more than 50 categories ranging from poetry, novels and history, to self-development, practice exams and audio described movies.
In addition to the books, the Telefon Kütüphanesi also includes audio-descriptions of 20 world-famous paintings, dubbed by some celebrities, instant news feeds served by the Anadolu Agency and the currency recognition function.
In 2020, in line with the needs of the visually impaired, users were provided with voice access to medicine package inserts by scanning medicine barcodes on the phone screen. Thus, the visually impaired were provided with the opportunity to access information about their medicines without the need for someone else’s help.
Users have spent a total of 12 million minutes listening to the Telefon Kütüphanesi since its launch in 2011. Launched in 2016, the mobile application has been downloaded 45 thousand times and the Kitaplara Ses (Voice to Books) application facilitating voluntary reading for the visually impaired has been downloaded 48 thousand times.
The Günışığı (Sunshine) project allows children with low vision to attend the same schools as their peers without disabilities, and thus participate in social life
Thanks to Türk Telekom’s technology and infrastructure, the Günışığı project can provide early intervention education remotely for the first time. The project stands out as the only example of its kind in Turkey and in the world.
In 2014, the Company implemented the project with the Association for Living Without Obstacles (EyDer). The project aims to provide children with 1% to 10% vision, who are considered to be totally impaired visually, with early intervention education so that they can lead their lives without the help of others and continue inclusive education instead of attending the schools specifically for the visually impaired.
Within the scope of the Günışığı Project, Türk Telekom’s R&D unit designed the Günışığı Games, the first and only smartphone application developed specifically to support the education of children with low vision. Designed to help children with low vision to improve their functional visual skills and hand-eye coordination, the Daylight Games is an application which can also be used by the elderly with weakened vision.
The pictures drawn by the children included in the project were converted into holiday greeting cards by Türk Telekom. Thus, what these children, who were considered to be totally impaired visually, can and will be able to do was shared with everyone through their own success stories.
Social impact of Günışığı Project measured in accordance with international standards
Türk Telekom chalked up another first in Turkey by measuring the effects of the Günışığı project with the SROI (Change Theory and Social Return on Investment) method in accordance with international standards.
The measurements made using the SROI method revealed the benefits of the project for the society and its impact on parents clearly in figures. It is proved that the value of the project’s social benefits almost tripled the investment amount.
According to the measurements made on children who participated in Günışığı project;
- the physical activity level of children aged five years and above improved by 32%, while the level of the use of existing vision improved by 12%,
- their literacy skills increased by 15%,
- their ability to act independently and self-care skills improved by 10%.
With regard to the families of these children,
- awareness of their child’s visual capacity increased by 29%,
- awareness of their child’s skills increased by 27%,
- confidence that their children could attend mainstream schools increased by 27%.
Additionally, there was a 24% increase in the parents’ sense of feeling stronger and a 20% increase in their peace of mind, and the time spent for childcare decreased by 15%.
Thousands of teachers reached through “Okulumda Günışığı”
The “Okulumda Günışığı” (Sunshine at Schools) Project was launched as a component of the Günışığı project in 2018. Within the scope of this project, students, parents, teachers and administrators at primary education schools attended by low vision graduates of the Günışığı Project, with their peers without disabilities, are given seminars on low vision education.
The Okulumda Günışığı seminars aims to organize the classroom environments for students with low vision, to provide them with better quality education, to disseminate the low vision education and to systematically implement this education.
As of the end of 2020, the results of the seminars, which reached about 5 thousand teachers in 75 schools from 16 provinces, were planned to be reported to the Ministry of National Education on individual school basis.
The “TahtApp” software developed by Türk Telekom’s R&D unit offers an innovative solution which will facilitate the follow-up of in-class education for Günışığı children, who study in the same classes with their peers without disabilities.
Türk Telekom EyeSense program bringing ease to the lives of the visually impaired
Türk Telekom has achieved the first in Turkey with its EyeSense program, which has been specially developed to bring ease to the lives of the visually impaired. EyeSense program helps users to take photos and identify objects and colours shown in the camera via its audio instruction function.
Adopting a different perspective while developing the EyeSense program, Türk Telekom brought together a number of features such as “Object Recognition”, “Colour Recognition” and “Taking Photos” to bring ease to the lives of the visually impaired.
One of these features the “Object Recognition” which includes thousands of objects defined in the app, enables the visually impaired individuals who have difficulty in finding critical objects such as keys and purses to access these objects easily. In order to identify what the objects are and to listen their definitions, the users just need to direct their smartphone towards the object.
The EyeSense audio warning system provides audio guidance to users until they reach the correct angle with their front and back cameras of their smartphones, and allows the photos to be taken in the correct sized frame. Thus, EyeSense users can easily and actively use social media applications such as Instagram, and become a strong part of the social life.
The Türk Telekom EyeSense application won the Gold Award in the “Mobile Application-Service” category at the Golden Spider Awards in 2020.
“TahtApp” software - one of the innovative solutions by Türk Telekom
The “TahtApp” software developed by the Türk Telekom R&D unit is an application which detects content on the classroom board with a camera and transfers it to the tablets provided to the children within the scope of the project, on a real time basis. This transferred content is arranged by visual processing techniques on tablets and transformed to a format through which students can follow-up the lesson.
During this transformation process, actions such as the removal of the teacher standing in front of the board from the vision and increasing the contrasts of colours and font sizes are performed. Thanks to the application’s feature of automatic lesson recording, students have opportunity to review the lesson subjects later with the transfer of the lectured lessons to the device.
Thanks to TahtApp, the standardisation required for children who have differences in terms of reading and light detection capacity is achieved successfully. This also helps to ensure that the students no longer feel separated from their peers without disabilities. As of 2020, TahtApp installations had been carried out at 25 schools in 9 provinces.
Taking into account the conditions of the pandemic, Türk Telekom set up the Günışığı Open Learning Platform for children with low vision in April 2020. The platform contributes to children with low vision and their families with the trainings provided by different branch teachers through live broadcasts every weekday. In 2020, a total of 43 thousand children and families were reached by the Günışığı Open Learning Platform.
The Günışığı Workshops of Art, which were held in cooperation with the İstanbul Modern within the scope of the Günışığı Project, introduced the children of the Company employees and the Günışığı Children to art. Five online workshops were held in the last quarter of 2020.
Projects to prepare young people for next generation technologies
Türk Telekom’s “Yeni Nesil Gelecek” (Next Generation) project was launched in 2018 in cooperation with the Habitat Association in order to accelerate Turkey’s adaption with the Industry 4.0 process, support the growth of the software industry in the country and invest in young people to produce the next smart technologies.
In February 2020, 352 students from different departments applied to take part in the “Smart Technologies IoT Hackathon”, which was hosted by the Information and Communication Technologies Authority (ICTA) in Ankara, with 88 projects. 16 of these projects passed the preselection, and in teams of four people they developed their projects within 48 hours. Awards were given to the top 3 projects determined by the jury, including the ICTA Chairman and the Türk Telekom Technology Assistant General Manager.
Support to education with the Türk Telekom Schools Project
Within the scope of the Türk Telekom Schools Project, Türk Telekom offers a modern educational environment for students in 78 Türk Telekom education buildings, including 53 schools established across Turkey.
Every year, thousands of students graduate from these schools and educational buildings, majority of which are located in the Eastern and regions and which have been transferred to the Ministry of National Education. In addition, Türk Telekom provides scholarships to successful students with financial difficulties studying in these schools every year.
Türk Telekom introduces Turkey’s young people to sports
Türk Telekom continues to support the Türk Telekom Amateur Sports Clubs, which have been operating in all branches for 10 years.
Türk Telekom has extended its support to nearly 6 thousand athletes in 33 branches from 40 clubs in 44 provinces, from basketball and fencing to wushu and badminton.
In addition to the national athletes which the Company has supported so far, it has 63 national athletes who actively play sports in clubs.
The athletes supported by Türk Telekom represented Turkey abroad and gained significant achievements in the World, European and Balkan Championships, and they won many medals in national-international competitions in different branches.
The number of institutions using the Türk Telekom Subscription-based Donation System is increasing day by day
Türk Telekom has become first the operator that put the Subscription-based Donation System, which makes it easier for the user to make donations via mobile phone, into use in Turkey. The System, which was used by the Turkish Red Crescent for the first time in 2020, aims to ensure the continuity of the donations made.
The users just need to send an SMS in order to utilize the facilities provided by the system. Thus, the user can donate regularly every month throughout the subscription period. The amount of donations made is reflected to the user’s invoice every month, or deducted from their remaining balance, and the user can unsubscribe at any time.
Türk Telekom’s Subscription-based Donation System was also started to be used by the Turkish Aeronautical Association, the Turkish Religious Foundation and the Educational Volunteers Foundation of Turkey after the Turkish Red Crescent.
Concrete solutions for the problems of disabled individuals with the Accessible Life mobile application
Türk Telekom facilitates the participation of disabled people in everyday life with its Accessible Life mobile application. The application offers concrete solutions to challenges encountered by the disabled people in daily life, thanks to services such as Currency Recognition and Voice Readout.