Müjde Esin, 34, nominated as Turkey’s Female Social Entrepreneur of 2018, has devoted herself to girls’ education and wellbeing.
Her platform KızCode (kız means girl in Turkish) organizes workshops in coding, project management, presentation and other skills. It currently offers mentorship programs for disadvantaged girls in Turkey and in the UK, with the aim of expanding to other countries.
“Our first center, offering girls and women digital and arts education, will be opened in Zanzibar. That will be followed by KızCode Institutes in Diyarbakır and Istanbul,” Esin told FemaleOneZero.
“I was sharing the fate of so many other girls born and raised in this geography. But I never gave up.“
Sometimes in the places where Esin travels in Eastern Turkey, nobody even owns a computer. She herself had to struggle to get education. The youngest daughter of a six-children family from Turkey’s eastern province of Ağrı, Esin was prevented from going to university after high school. Her family expected Esin to become a traditional housewife.
“I was sharing the fate of so many other girls born and raised in this geography. But I never gave up, and after five years of sitting idle at home, I was finally able to go for further studies”, she says.
During her years at home, Esin read a book which inspired her, and she decided to reach out to its author. The famous professor in Turkey, helped her to take the university exam. Esin passed the exam and started studying despite her family’s disapproval.
After a bachelor’s degree in communication and media studies in Istanbul, Esin gained a scholarship for a master’s degree at the University of Westminster in London in 2014. In London, she inspected the problems of women and girls in migrant communities, launching KızCode in 2015 to help those girls. That same year the project received ‘The Most Successful Social Enterprise’ award from the government of UK.
In 2017, Esin also won Microsoft’s ‘Women Leaders of Technology’ award as the most successful Woman Educator of the Year.
“A majority of women want to do something in life, but they lose courage. And so they give up,” she says.