MAKS is an non profit organisation which aim is to facilitate social mobility by fighting digital illiteracy on all levels.
Maks has about 50 employees, and 25 of the employees are youngsters that are trained on the job as an educator in multimedia or desktop publisher (graphic design-web design). Annually, Maks is coaching about 700 adult jobseekers and 100 youngsters between 18 and 25 years old. In the IT center, we reach 2000 inhabitants from 6 to 99.
Maks is situated in one of the most deprived neighborhoods of Brussels, named Kuregem. Most inhabitants here come from an immigrant background. Within a population of about 25,000 spread over just 2km², there are over 80 different nationalities. Both the unemployment (around 30%) and illiteracy (50% only primary school degree) rates are high. In 2013 youth unemployment increased to an alarming 52%. The average income per person is under 700€ a month, which is less than half the average of the Brussels Region. It is against this backdrop that Maks offers two open IT learning centre where people can take low-cost courses or workshops tailored to their needs and a counseling service, helping people to get a job.
During our 17 years of experience, we noticed that people learn better by doing. So we developed for all kinds of publics workshops of digital storytelling and coding. We believe that if learners work on the editing of digital products like digital stories, movies or games, they learn to use the computer and other devices as tools to favorite integration in the real and virtual world, the world of lifelong learning.
Making those digital products, we experienced also that we can empower learners and make the aware of some important societal issues. We conduced many digital storytelling projects about diversty, hate crimes, domestical violence, burn out, radicalization.
Keeping barriers as low as possible, we encourage people to expand their digital skills to actively participate in the 21st century society. Maks is partner of the Flemish Institute for Media literacy and a member of Telecentre Europe..