BY BARIŞ SEVİ (PSYC/IV)
ENDOST, the Friends Without Barriers Project, is a TDP (Social Awareness Projects) volunteer initiative that focuses on socializing with mentally disabled individuals, primarily through visits to the Gölbaşı facility of ZİÇEV (Foundation for the Training and Protection of Mentally Handicapped Children). There, volunteers meet with a group of mentally disabled people (with an average age of around 30) who receive care at the center, and talk, play games and participate in activities (for example, yoga, potato printmaking and rhythm workshops) with them. These gatherings show that there are no barriers in friendship.
Last week was the International Day of Persons With Disabilities (December 3). TDP-ENDOST was part of two big events marking the occasion: the International Day of Persons With Disabilities concert, and the Turkish Handicapped Bowling Championship.
On December 2, ENDOST volunteers attended the concert, which took place in Yenimahalle. The event was more than a ceremony—it was a celebration. The concert was organized by ZİÇEV and Dinçer Özer, and included a Turkish folk dance by blind children, a Sufi dance performance by the Kayseri ZİÇEV and a rhythm performance by the Antalya ZİÇEV. The performers’ work on stage showed the viewers that there was no limit to what they could do.
Similarly, the bowling championship also demonstrated what people with disabilities are capable of. ENDOST volunteers helped organize the event, just as they had helped with the INAS World Basketball Championship held in Ankara last year.
By attending and organizing such events, and by making regular visits to the ZİÇEV facility, ENDOST volunteers try to do as much as they can, and sometimes they get special recognition in return. Recently, volunteers Melih Yücel (IE/III), Caner Gençcan (MAN/IV) and Serhan Arıdıcı (ME/III) received awards from ZİÇEV for their hard work.
Although ENDOST has been active for only three years, it has already become one of TDP’s most effective projects. To do even more, it needs more volunteers. If you want to be a part of ENDOST and show that there no barriers in friendship, you are very welcome to join.