Istanbul Study Visit – SINC (Social Inclusion) Project

Istanbul Study Visit

The second study visit within the scope of SINC Project was held in Istanbul on 18-19 January 2022, and hosted by Avcılar and Şişli Municipalities. Representatives of Yuva Association and Support Group Network (SGN), as well as representatives of various non-governmental organizations from Sweden and Stuttgart, attended this visit. 

The first day of Istanbul study visit was hosted by Avcılar Municipality and participants visited “Gülten Nakipoğlu Center for Disable People” and “Romani Culture, Art and Education Center”. On the second day of the visit, Şişli Municipality hosted visits to “Neighborhood Kitchen”, “Social Kitchen”, “Boysan’s House” and “Open House” and examples of good projects that civil society can carry out for various target groups in cooperation with local authorities were examined. 

Gülten Nakipoğlu Center for Disable People

Within the scope of İstanbul Study Visit, the first visit was made to Gülten Nakipoğlu Center for Disable People on January 18, 2022. While the center provides services for all kinds of social needs of disable people, from arts to sports, and education to entertainment, it also provides a space for NGOs working for handicapped people to continue their work without any costs. The participants of the study visit had the opportunity to listen directly from Avcılar Mayor, Lawyer Turhan Hançerli, about the work at the Gülten Nakipoğlu Center for Disable People, which is a good example of the cooperation between a local authority and NGOs.

Romani Culture, Art and Education Center

The second stop of the Istanbul Study Visit was the Romani Culture, Art and Education Center. In the center, which operates to convey the Romani culture to future generations, different training programs are provided by Avcılar Municipality’s Culture and Art Department staff to reinforce the traditional cultures of the Romani. The cultural activities organized in the neighborhood support the social cohesion by providing opportunities for communication and interaction with people who have different cultural backgrounds.

Neighborhood Kitchen

The second day of the study visit, hosted by Şişli Municipality, started in Neighborhood Kitchen with the participation of representatives of SGN, Yuva Association, Avcılar Municipality and different NGOs from Sweden and Stuttgart. Neighborhood Kitchen which was opened for everyone to have easy access to healthy and safe food, organizes free training and workshop programs for disadvantaged women in order to support social inclusion, participation and employment. The goals of Neighborhood Kitchen include to support the preference of traditional methods in food production; to promote the healthy and nutritious dishes by reviving the traditional cuisine that is on the verge of extinction; to encourage the creation of a grassroots organization by activating the awareness of neighborhood solidarity, to reduce the unemployment rate at the local area by creating women-first employment in the neighborhoods; and to reduce urban poverty. 

Social Kitchen

The second stop of the İstanbul Study Visit was Social Kitchen, which was brought to life in cooperation with Şişli Municipality, the German International Cooperation Agency (GIZ) and the United Nations World Food Program. The aims of the project are to provide safe and hot meals to those in need in Şişli, to provide training in the field of culinary and to increase the employment opportunities. The Social Kitchen, which caters the elderly, disabled people, families who have been hit by natural disasters, delivers an average of two meals a day to 2000 people. 

Boysan’s House

The third project, visited within the scope of the Istanbul Study Visit, was “Boysan’s House”. The house, which was organized to keep the memory of Boysan Yakar, Member of the Board of Directors responsible for LGBTIs in Şişli City Council, alive, has been continuing its activities since June 2016 as an alternative venue for LGBTIQ+ solidarity. Boysan’s House, which hosts different activities of NGOs like education programs, conferences, film screening, exhibitions, workshops etc. works towards strengthening the representation and visibility of LGBTIQ+s in the society. 

Open House

The last stop of the Istanbul Study Visit was Open House, which was brought to life as a result of the “Project for Resilience in Turkish Local Governance (RESLOG-Turkey)” in cooperation between Şişli Municipality, Swedish Association of Local Authorities and Regions (SALAR), Union of Marmara Municipalities, Union of Turkish Municipalities, and Çukurova Union of Municipalities, implemented within the Immigration Unit of the Social Support Services Directorate of Şişli Municipality. In Open House, which provides a space where immigrants living in Şişli and neighborhood residents can come together, representatives of SGN and Yuva Association, NGO representatives from Sweden and Stuttgart had the opportunity to learn about the works of various NGOs in particular working in the field of migration.