Hande was born and raised in Istanbul, Turkey. She graduated from Istanbul University with a degree in Journalism and has been working in media production since 2020. She started volunteering at Istanbul&I in 2019 and was a member of the programming committee. She was one of the volunteer superstars of 2020 because of her dedication to volunteering even through the Covid-19 lockdowns. Then in 2021, she was elected to be the Legal&Ethics coordinator and completed her term till the end of the year.
“Why do you volunteer in Istanbul&I?”
When I graduated from university, I was looking for a youth community to be a part of and help people in need altogether. A friend of mine who is also an old volunteer of Istanbul&I suggested that I could apply to be a volunteer here. When I checked the social media pages and read about all the great things this community is doing with people from so many backgrounds, it mesmerized me. I have never thought that there would be such a place in the heart of Istanbul bringing everyone together like this. I didn’t even think twice before applying.
My journey started off amazing from the day of my orientation and I was content knowing that all the things I added to myself throughout my life can be beneficial for so many people. I started with moderating the Turkish Speaking Clubs and then eventually I had the honor to be a part of the Executive Board. As much as I gave back to the people of Istanbul, I gained so many more fruitful lessons, friendships, and motivation. Volunteering at Istanbul&I taught me the importance of gratitude. It was never like a duty or obligation for me. I have done all the things I have done to this day with love and belief in my heart for this community and generations to come.
I was able to challenge myself in many ways and my last position as the Legal&Ethics coordinator contributed greatly to the person I am today. As a young person, I am lucky that Istanbul&I was always there for me when I needed it and I wish that feeling for everyone.
“As the Executive Coordinator of Istanbul&I, I always say that the NGO keeps growing; owing to the countless contributions of dedicated and committed volunteers who worked day and night to run it! Hande is one of them! I have been in Istanbul&I with Hande since 2019 and I had the opportunity to witness her growth, perseverance, and achievements both as a volunteer and as the Legal&Ethics coordinator between 2020 and 2021. She holds the community close to her heart and is always ready to roll her sleeves to solve issues at Istanbul&I. In 2022, she worked closely with our Legal Committee to ensure that Istanbul&I undergoes a smooth transition period. Thank you for your effort so far Hande and we are glad that you are part of the community!” - Manohur Chand Poonyth, Executive Coordinator