Turkey's first fully-accessible party

01 Feb 2009

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Art is one of the most important tools for the building up and evaluation of creative and productive individuals within a society. As in many fields of social life, young people with disabilities are generally deprived of arts in Turkey.

New Horizons - The "Dreams Academy" project, recently started jointly by United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), the Alternative Life Association (AYDER), the Vodafone Turkey Foundation and the Beşiktaş Municipality, aims to break social deprivation and empower people with disabilities to be active and productive. Through the use of arts as a medium, The "Dream Academy" project is expected to inspire and integrate individuals with physical, mental, hearing, visual disabilities and also chronic illnesses and low-income and disadvantaged youth groups.

As part of the project, Turkey’s first fully-accessible party was organized on December 28, 2008 at one of İstanbul’s most favored music hall and lounge, Ghetto, in the Beyoğlu district. The turnout for the event was remarkable. Nearly 450 guests gathered in the fully-accessible venue and partied till the late hours. It was a memorable event in that for the first time ever, people with and without disabilities were able to come together and celebrate with music, dance and visual performances (please click here to watch Star TV's broadcast of the event - Turkish).

In addition to the launch of the project in November 2008, this was the second major event for the "Dreams Academy" project. In both occasions, the two venues were made accessible for people with disabilities thanks to the "Dreams Academy". The rooms and WCs that were not previously accessible for people with disabilities now all have ramps and other means of access.

As of December 2008, over 400 applications have been made to the "Dreams Academy" that conducts arts trainings in İstanbul, at four different venues and approximately 10 ateliers. In addition to workshops on vocal music, rhythm, dance, instrument playing, DJ, film and animation, the "Dreams Academy" has collaborated with İstanbul Moda Academy. As a result, the first fashion design workshop for people with disabilities was conducted.

The "Dreams Academy" was established jointly by UNDP, AYDER, the Vodafone Turkey Foundation and the Beşiktaş Municipality. AYDER is a non-governmental organization with the purpose of increasing awareness on the needs of socially and physically disadvantaged people, their integration into social life and developing partnerships among disadvantaged groups and with the governments, local authorities and the private sector.

For more information about the "Dreams Academy" please visit:
http://www.duslerakademisi.org/?dil=en