In the 1860s and 1870s, the Ottomans established many artisan schools (islahhanes), providing useful technical skills for homeless, poor and orphaned children of different religions. The attempt was launched initially by Midhat Pasha while administrating the eyalet of Nish and then developed in the Danube vilayet. The paper examines whether this socialisation approach was based on French or German educational models and how far it corresponded with the attitudes of Muslims, Jews and Christians to the socially deprived youth.