Çagdas Yasami Destekleme Dernegi

One of the duties of this project is to frequently check and edit the pictures before posting online. During randomly self-timed breaks, I often catch myself looking over old photos and further reminisce about the past. Among the most visited albums, anything related to college life is definitely a recurring subject. Indeed, college has been one of the most rewarding experiences thus far. Not only good memories remain, but also an entire educational legacy.

Although it is no novelty that illiteracy is an enormous issue in such globalized reality, the consequences of lack of education are often overseen. Indeed, the ability to independently think and advocate one’s ideas is an immediate consequence of a successful education. What if this basic right to any human being was completely denied or inexistent? Values, ideas and even cultural traditions would definitely be considered incongruous within mainstream knowledge. Trust me, I am mostly about opposition to dominant ideologies; however, first one must understand them in order to create one’s own subculture.

Even in this day and age, education can indeed be a luxury. According to UNESCO, there are an estimated 774 million illiterate adults in the world, about 64% of whom are women. Here in Turkey, Ça?da? Ya?am? Destekleme Derne? (Association for the Support of Contemporary Living) is entirely committed to positively alter such reality. Contemporary living (and thinking) is based off the very own principle of education: knowledge is power.

The organization, furthermore, has several projects currently developing in Turkey. Although it would take an entire dissertation to further describe these projects, ÇYDD is a true social work giant. The Association has 95 branches scattered throughout Turkey, and it has 13 thousand members in Istanbul and Anatolia alone. And as ÇYDD defines, “[our] goal is to reach a contemporary society and contemporary person through contemporary education.”

For example, one of the most astonishing projects is entitled “Improvement of Elementary Boarding Schools (YIBO).” The Association builds boarding schools in rural areas of Turkey, further permitting children and young teenagers to conveniently attend classes. Another project is focused on providing high school and college scholarships – mostly to women. Until today, 22,000 university students have been provided with scholarships.

Amidst these remarkable numbers and accomplishments, I have also found a great partnership. I am currently working with ÇYDD, documenting their remarkable deeds in Istanbul and Ankara. And as I learn more and more about the Association, I begin to realize the importance of my past upon my present life; and I am not only referring to High School, University and whatnot.

Most of us have access to information, and that alone can be a powerful tool. Indeed, one of the main objectives of “People of Change” is to be an informational and inspirational instrument of positive change; hence, bringing light to those that perhaps need that extra thrust. In other words, use your knowledge to propagate “good” – and the ideals you stand behind. Maybe interpretations and methods will differ along the path, yet “good” usually has only one meaning.

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