Are we aware of “the others”? Others, who needed to leave their houses, hometowns, families and dreams? We are living right next to one of the most dramatic crises in the history of humankind, and now some of the victims of that crisis are living with us, and in many cases struggling to survive.
As one of the Social Awareness Projects (TDP) at Bilkent University, the Citizens of Hope Project (UYP) is trying to remove the borders in people’s minds, so that instead of different states and citizenships, they see only hope and a better world for all. In UYP, which consists of over a hundred volunteers including both Turkish and international students at Bilkent, we aim to provide aid to the most vulnerable members of the refugee communities currently living in Ankara.
To fulfill this aim, UYP has, in collaboration with the Turkish Red Crescent, conducted a number of clothing and food donation campaigns and fundraisers on campus. We have carried out four joint and two solo campaigns so far, allowing us to reach hundreds of families and provide them with household necessities – an important service that not all NGOs offer. In addition, UYP has started to work with the Association for Solidarity With Asylum Seekers and Migrants in its Multiservice Support Center in Ankara to provide psychological support for children.
As well as aid and psychological support, there is also a need for advocacy for the rights of refugees and facilitation of public engagement. We have proposed to cooperate with UNHCR to organize a series of panel discussions, part of a broader strategy to raise awareness of the issues surrounding the ongoing refugee crisis; arrangements for this event are currently being made.
If you want to be a part of making a change in these vulnerable people’s lives, you are very welcome to join UYP and help us do more and more!
Social Awareness Projects (Toplumsal Duyarlılık Projeleri – TDP)