Life + second phase projects

01 Nov 2006

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Formed by the UNDP and Coca-Cola Turkey, and conducted by the Youth Association for Habitat, the “Life Plus” Youth Fund has given rise to the implementation of many youth projects since 19 May 2005.

New Horizons - The Fund, which has set out with the motto “Youth Produce for Youth”, encourages young people of Turkey to actively participate in social life and assume responsibility to solve societal issues on one hand; and on the other hand aims to contribute to the training of young leaders who can address the issues of the community they live in. The Fund aims to pave the way for projects prepared by young people in the fields of education, sports, environment, culture and arts that can enhance the quality of social life in their communities.

In the first phase of the ‘Life Plus Programme’ in 2005, 10 projects from 10 different provinces of Turkey were selected by the Selection Board as worthy of receving grants, and these projects were duly implemented.

In the second phase of the “Life Plus” Youth Fund in 2006, a total of 12 projects from 10 different provinces in Turkey, including Hakkari, Çankırı, Kahramanmaraş and Izmir, received support from the Fund, and they are currently being implemented. The winning projects are community-sensitive, sustainable, participatory, innovative, have a social impact wherever they are implemented, envisage cooperation with civil society organizations and public institutions, and reflect the dynamic energy of the youth.

Life Plus in the international platform

“Life Plus” Youth Fund was announced as a “successful practice model” during the session entitled “Localization of the World Programme of Action for Youth” of the United Nations World Programme of Action for Youth Summit held in New York on 3-7 October 2005, in which 180 countries participated. Moreover, it was chosen as a “model project” within the context of the following events: European Commission Youth Programme for the Management of Water in Jordan, European Commission Youth Programme Workshop in Hungary, Turkish-German Partners Meeting in Germany, European Countries National Youth Councils Meeting in Strasbourg and United Nations European Youth Leadership Summit in Australia.

New Horizons took a closer look at the 12 projects selected from all around Turkey in 2006:

A Hope for the Faded Faces of Flower Buds

This project aims to minimize the disaccord experienced by young girls in Batman – a city where internally displaced people have flocked in, between the traditions and customs of their internally displaced families and the conditions of the new life they have adopted in Batman. The project’s goal is to create a change in the families’ handling of their children regarding their psychological problems, by showing ways of improving the communication between the young girls and their families. It involves information activities among 2000 people in 5 districts and providing psychological support to 100 young girls.

Pen Reaching Out to Dialogue, Wall Reaching Out to Peace in the City of the Silk Road

The projects aims to transform the town of Bitlis, where young people from different cultural backgrounds are increasingly becoming biased against each other, into a community where diversity is welcomed, as it once was. Three workshops on “The Role of Youth in the Dialogue of Civilizations”, “The Language of Art in Peace” and “The Second Concrete Step in the Initiative: What, Where, When, With Whom?” will be conducted as part of the activities of this project.

Past Time Station

Within the framework of this project that aims to protect the traditional cultural values of Anatolian societies, young people will be trained in the field of documenting verbal history. The youth will hold interviews with their elders aged 70 years or older, and will consequently prepare a documentary film to disseminate the awareness regarding the historical and cultural heritage of Çankırı and its environs.

No Barriers to Basketball

A group of disabled basketball players have developed this project to deal with the problems of the disabled in Hakkari, where financial infrastructure and sports facilities are inadequate. The project aims to create an opportunity for disabled people to participate in social life as equal and active individuals, by reaching out to 40 orthopedically disabled young people, who are otherwise confined to their homes. A Wheelchair Basketball Tournament entitled “No Barriers to Basketball” will be organized with the participation of these 40 disabled young people.

We Are Holding a Mirror to Our Life

The project aims to create opportunities for young people who come from internally displaced families with limited income and who have difficulty adapting to their new environment to socialize, as well as to find jobs, by providing employment-oriented trainings. Within this framework, 20 young people aged 16-26, living in Beyoğlu-Istanbul with limited economic means, will receive job-oriented English language and computerized accounting courses. In order to contribute further to the social lives of these young people, the project will offer courses on modern photography and encourage the participants to take photographs of the Beyoğlu district. Their pictures will later be exhibited at Beyoğlu Art Gallery.

The Youth Braille Network Project
The project aims to help lift the obstacles hindering visually disabled youth from entering university and to increase the number of visually disabled university students. To this end, a website will be designed to address the needs of the visually disabled university candidates, aged 16-26. 100 volunteers will read and record selected sources on university preparation on CDs; and representatives from NGOs working for the visually disabled will be arranged to distribute these CDs to those in need.

5th Sense Arts

The project aims to enable the disabled youth to hold on to life and to prove that disabled people can actively add “a plus to life” if and when they are given the opportunity and that they are not all-dependent individuals. To prove this, 26 disabled young people and 19 volunteers from Izmir will form a 45-member dance group. The group will receive training on tango, salsa, and improvised modern dancing, rhythm and percussion playing. The project plans to organize three performances by this group, to reach an audience of 750 people.

Barrier-Free Vocational Training Project

According to the Survey on Disabled People in Turkey, jointly carried out in 2006 by the Administration for Disabled People and TÜBİTAK (Scientific and Technological Research Council of Turkey), 78% of the disabled people in Turkey are not trained to take part in any work force, and only 20% of the 22% who are trained and educated are employed. This project aims to give employment-oriented training to 10 disabled young people from Izmir, so that they become qualified individuals whose services are sought for. In the first phase of the project, 10 orthopedically-disabled young people, aged 18-26, who are high school or vocational school graduates and are computer-literate, will be trained to acquire the skills to find jobs in the market.

Give Life to Orchids

The goal of this project is to protect the orchid species that grow in the province of Kahramanmaraş, which is one of the important plant preservation areas in Turkey, and to raise awareness among the local people in this issue. Within this framework, the project aims to train 270 local orchid producers and to pass information about the preservation of orchids to at least 60 villagers in the region, under the leadership of young people trained in this field.

First Step to Aviation

A group of volunteers have developed this project to create publicity in the field of civil aviation. The project aims to inform young people living in Mersin on aviation and to establish a civil society organization to popularize aviation activities, depending on the interest and willingness of the locals. Aviation activities will be promoted at schools, and 100 young people will receive training on building model planes. An “airplane contest” will be held among the young people who are awarded certificates following the trainings.

New Born Future

The project aims to inform the local community in Şırnak on family planning, child and mother health, and how to reduce maternal and newborn mortality. 90 young couples, aged 18-26, will receive family planning and sexual health education. Booklets, posters and CDs will be produced to raise awareness among the local community, with the cooperation of the local Health Directorate. Educational meetings and other similar activities will be held jointly with the village headmen.