Each year, to celebrate National Sovereignty and Children’s Day, the student volunteer organization TDP (Social Awareness Projects) holds a Children’s Festival on the Bilkent University Main Campus. The volunteers host approximately 400 children from the target groups served by TDP projects, most of them socioeconomically disadvantaged children. The aim is to give them a day where they can have as much fun as possible and that they will remember for a long time.
Unfortunately, the pandemic made it impossible to plan for the event to take place in its usual format this year. But the volunteers were determined that, for the children’s sake, it should still go on, and came up with an alternative way – actually two ways – to hold the festival, in part by using the online platform Zoom.
Although the volunteers are calling this year’s event the TDP Online Children’s Fest, they were well aware while making their plans that not all of the children they wanted to include would have access to Zoom. Therefore, they decided to base the first part of the festival on activity kits that will be sent to all of the 400-plus children who, in normal years, would have come to campus for the event.In the weeks leading up to the festival, the volunteers will be preparing and sending kits that include supplies and instructions for craft, music and recycling activities that the children can do at home, as well as presents and snacks for them to enjoy.
The second part of the festival will take place on Zoom, with TDP volunteers and the more than 150 children who have access to Zoom participating. It will start with a morning exercise session for everyone. Then, in breakout rooms, children and volunteers will together do the activities provided for in the kits. Wanting to create as festive an atmosphere as possible to celebrate National Sovereignty and Children’s Day, the volunteers have also planned a mini-concert and a magic show for the children.
Explaining why they were so committed to holding the festival this year despite the difficulties of doing so, TDP representatives said, “By organizing our Online Children’s Fest, we hope to make the children feel remembered in these days when everything has fallen apart, and to provide an environment where they can celebrate their holiday and forget the hard times we’re all going through.”