Işık University Students Embrace Turkey in Terms of Social Responsibility
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Işık University Students Embrace Turkey in Terms of Social Responsibility

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Conceived of by Işık University students and implemented with the support of the Işık community, the BATI'DAN DOĞU'YA IŞIKLIYIZ project has managed to deliver social aid to Van and Hatay.

Abiding by the primary aim of "educating decent people" as determined by the Feyziye Mektepleri Foundation, Işık University is taking steps to mobilize its students and the society at large for action by means of social responsibility projects. As part of the BATI'DAN DOĞU'YA IŞIKLIYIZ project, Işık University students took the initiative to provide social charity for the earthquake-stricken region of Van. The project volunteers worked in the villages of Hatay as the second step of the same project. Prior to the 2012-2013 academic year, the project reached more than 200 students and their families in Van and Hatay, providing them with stationery items, books, clothes, and food.

The first project of BATI'DAN DOĞU'YA IŞIKLIYIZ team: Işıklı Village, Van

In its first year, the project met with students in Işıklı Village Elementary School, Van. The BATI'DAN DOĞU'YA IŞIKLIYIZ team consists of 20 students who are founders and members of the Işık University Youth Branch of the Red Crescent Şile Branch, as well as members of Işık University student clubs and AKUT Student Community. For two years, the team has been pursuing their goal of supporting the education of young students in Işıklı Village, Van. The purpose of the project is to provide material and moral support for the students, especially in the eastern areas of Turkey, by minimizing the problems they face as much as possible, meeting their needs, and fostering the feeling that they are a part of this society.

The project team, consisting of student volunteers from Işık University, carried out charity campaigns within the university and found sponsors to gather educational materials for students in Işıklı Village, Van. The team also delivered these materials personally to Işıklı Village, in order to form strong communication with the young students, showing that they are not merely donors, but socially responsible individuals who are ready to listen to and understand the students in need of support.

As part of Feyziye Mektepleri Foundation's social responsibility activities, the project began when Işık University students chose Van Işıklı Village Elementary School as a sister school to support their educational life. The project was put into full practice after the Van earthquake that grieved the Turkish nation as a whole. In the aftermath of the earthquake, members of the Işık community gave Van their helping hand, conveying the message that Van will not be left to cope with this emergency alone.

Ezgi Erel – Işık University Student Participating in Van Işıklı Village Project:

"BATI'DAN DOĞU'YA IŞIKLIYIZ started as a social responsibility project. We went to Işıklı Village, Başkale, Van to provide moral and material support. Moral support was very important for us. We did not have much knowledge about the circumstances in the village before we went there. And what we encountered was people who had to live under very hard conditions. It's a village close to the country border. We played games with the students in the village, and held some activities to support daily life. We worked with women to teach them the basics of hygiene.

"Before we went there, we carried out an intensive campaign in the university and collected 12,500 TL. All this money was raised by Işık University students in the charity sales they organized. We sold certain items and food… We bought food, clothes and stationery items for the village with the collected money and took the charity packs to Suluköy village.

"The villagers welcomed us warmly. At first, the children were a little timid, but after a while, they did not want to leave us. There were even kids who cried as we were getting ready for departure. A very strong bond was formed between us and the children. We still keep in touch with the villagers and the children. We are ready to help them at any time if they need it. They've become our brothers and sisters."

The second project of BATI'DAN DOĞU'YA IŞIKLIYIZ team: Suluköy Village, Hatay

With an aim to reach other schools in different parts of Turkey that need material and moral support, Işık University volunteers showed willingness to offer help to Suluköy Village, Reyhanlı, Hatay. Red Crescent Şile Office Youth Branch supported Işık University students who visited the village.

As part of the BATI'DAN DOĞU'YA IŞIKLIYIZ project, Işık members carried out social consciousness campaigns in Işık University campuses several months prior to the visit. To support the campaign, food and drinks, and small products were put up for sale. The money raised in the campaign was spent on clothes, books, and stationary items for the students in Suluköy Village as well as on food for the villagers. University students went to the village to deliver the charity and formed strong bonds especially with the village kids. The volunteers tried to inspire the children's imagination by means of social and artistic activities. The volunteers also provided educational support for the village kids about brushing teeth and personal hygiene. Işık University volunteers painted the façade of the Suluköy Elementary School and equipped the school library they established with books, leaving a permanent mark on the village school.

Işık University students expressed their goal with the these words: "We are youngsters of the Işık community who view diversity as cultural richness, who support different life cultures, who look to the future with hope whatever the circumstances are, and who are willing to change themselves and the world pioneered by the youth and with support from adults." The students underlined that they would expand the scope of Batıdan Doğuya Işıklıyız project in the following years. The team established a library in each elementary and preschool classroom apart from meeting various needs of the students in Suluköy village. The team also held a series of training sessions on hygiene, taught young students various games including basketball during the three days they stayed in the village. The children in Suluköy felt more content with the way Işık University students approached them than the gifts themselves. The biggest experience Işık University students gained from the trip, on the other hand, was that the children of the village expected genuine care more than gifts. The team promised that they would not lose contact with those children, keeping the bond between the village children and themselves alive for ever.

Ozan Barış Bayraktar – Işık University Student Participating in Hatay Suluköy Village Project:

"The social responsibility project of BATIDAN DOĞUYA IŞIKLIYIZ is completely carried out by Işık University. Our goal is to provide support for the children and villagers in the villages we visit. We went to Hatay with a team of 14 students and distributed food to the village consisting of 61 houses. Besides, all school-age children received clothes and stationary items; a library was established, and the school was painted.

"Before we went there, we carried out an intensive campaign in the university and collected 12,500 TL. All this money was raised by Işık University students in the charity sales they organized. We sold certain items and food… We bought food, clothes and stationary items for the village with the collected money and took the charity packs to Suluköy village.

"The villagers welcomed us warmly. At first, the children were a little timid, but after a while, they did not want to leave us. There were even kids who cried as we were getting ready for departure. A very strong bond was formed between us and the children. We still keep in touch with the villagers and the children. We are ready to help them at any time if they need it. They've become our brothers and sisters."