Hope is a reason for holding onto life, and children are the hope of this world. Their laughter lights up the world, and the innocence in their eyes is a source of true happiness. For us as volunteers with TDP’s Günköy project, seeing a child’s smile, especially if it’s the result of our efforts, has become our hope.
Günköy, translated as “The Sun Rises From the Village,” is a project that focuses on village schools. Each semester, Günköy volunteers spend a weekend in a village, where we divide into two teams. One team undertakes a construction project, typically renovating a room to serve as a school library, while the other team organizes activities for the schoolchildren.
When we first arrive at a school, we’re welcomed with tentative smiles and shyness. However, after we join the children in activities that are both enjoyable and educational – sports, music, theater, science, art and general knowledge – heart-warming smiles and lots of love replace that initial shyness. All of the children keep a legacy of stories and memories from the volunteers who brought about a change in their lives.
Meanwhile, our work team prepares an actual legacy for them: a library that’s filled with the warmth of the Günköy sun.
With every step we take toward our goal of helping village schools and students, one by one, the consciousness of what has been accomplished adds up to a hope that this world will become a better place, with happier and better-informed children. That, at least, is what we aim for. After every village, every new library and every single new smile, we become even more inspired for our work in the next village. During each visit, we work hard to increase children’s happiness while expanding their knowledge and their horizons.
As our great leader Mustafa Kemal Ataturk said many years ago, “We endeavor to transmit the light of national education to the outermost edges of our native land.” With every sunrise from each village, our hopes mount higher, as the sun rises ever higher with the laughter of children from every part of the motherland.