Exciting New Projects
The Istanbul&I Executive Board held a meeting on the 25th of March to discuss and finalize upcoming prospective projects for the month of April. With the recent change in board members, the new Executive Coordinator, Amber Sema Erkan, shared her ideas about redefining Istanbul&I to ensure more efficiency and create a greater impact through enacting new sustainable structural changes in the organization. Hande Hepsen, the new Legal and Ethics Coordinator, drew out the work ethics necessary for all the Executive Board members to carry out their tasks and responsibilities following the organization’s policies and guidelines.
This April, which coincides with the Holy Month of Ramadan, Istanbul&I is very excited to begin its Iftar&Community project after having to cancel it the previous year due to the outbreak of the pandemic and new social gathering health guidelines. Fateme Babollahzade, the Programming Coordinator, as well as the Iftar&Community managers Melis Büyük and Bashir Sadiq, has planned the project in coordination with Yusra Community Center, which will cook and provide 50-60 iftar meals for displaced families in Balat. The 50 TL donations will include a full, traditional 3-course meal with salad, soup, bread, dates, and main course. Led by two Syrian women, ten to twelve Istanbul&I volunteers will assist the Yusra Community Center in buying the food, cooking it, and later packaging and distributing it every week. There will also be an additional Ramadan fundraiser to collect funds for the Iftar&Community project in order to serve a community of refugees and migrants between the ages of 18-25. Further, the board is also excited to collaborate with the Yusra Community center for an Earth Day event this month on April 18. The online event will include workshops and talks encouraging people to include sustainable practices in their daily lives.
Istanbul&I has been in conversation with other NGOs about extending our activities to partner on new projects and expanding existing projects. For example, Istanbul&I volunteers had previously run a project helping the Syrian children at Qnushyo with their homework, but now the project will restart again shortly, this time with our volunteers helping the children through Zoom. English W/Tech, another great organisation that provides free online english lessons to children all over Turkey of different backgrounds, has asked Istanbul&I to assist them in organising English homework help sessions and informative culture nights. ESSOR, a French association that teaches French to migrants and refugees, is also seeking partnership with Istanbul&I to create a unique exchange program with volunteers from both countries.
It is important to mention that these projects, although very exciting and advantageous, are still not finalized yet, and are still being discussed by the Board. The Executive Board is always looking into new prospective projects in collaboration with fellow NGOs to expand Istanbul&I’s service to disadvantaged communities in our goal of enacting social change in Turkey and in the world.
Hiba Mansoor – 27/3/21