Photo: Eren Korkmaz

Bahar Toksoy Guidetti observed on site UNDP’s work in Kilis on providing care to the elderly, and sustainable business models to women to support local development

Bahar Toksoy Guidetti, a national volleyballer and UNDP Turkey’s Gender Equality Advocate, visited Kilis on 12 December 2021 for an on-site review of Kilis Elderly Day Care Centre and Argande production atelier.

Photo: Eren Korkmaz

Conversing with and listening to the experiences of the participants and families at the Elderly Day Care Centre, and then Argande’s women employees, she observed on site the benefits both to the elderly and caring families and to the women working at the textiles production atelier of Argande, already an inclusive and sustainable business model in the region.

Expressing that she realised during the last 2 years working with UNDP that it required more than being a role model for girls and women, Bahar Toksoy Guidetti said: “We need to take action for them to remove all the obstacles on their way to developing economically and socially. The Elderly Day Care Centre in Kilis is indeed a very good example, providing social and physical care for the elderly and taking burden off the shoulders of caring families, mostly women. This way, women can choose to either work outside the house or have more time for themselves. Also, the brand Argande represents a source of income for women who produce and sell their products all over Turkey.”

Photo: Eren Korkmaz

Kilis Elderly Day Care Centre, the first stop of her visit, was established in the context of work undertaken by the Southeast Anatolia Project Regional Development Administration (GAP RDA) and United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) from 2019 to 2021 to empower women and promote social cohesion in the Southeast Anatolia Region. Serving the local people and Syrians of age 60 and over in Kilis, the Centre aims to scale up institutional care services for the elderly, and thereby reduce the domestic burden on working women. With its principles centred on delivering systematic, planned and needs-based services, the Centre works to respond to physical, social and psychological needs of the elderly, and boost their morale and motivation.

A day at the Elderly Day Care Centre starts with exercises led by experts. With blood pressure and blood sugar levels monitored by medical teams, participants may attend various training and workshops during the day. They are provided training on such topics as how to use smart phone applications that facilitate their daily lives, accessing e-government and HES (another government application used nationwide for COVID-19 measures) applications, and making appointments with medical doctors. They also engage in mental and cognitive activities such as reading books, watching movies and documentaries, as well as activities to improve psycho-motor skills. Providing collective or individual treatment in the context of psychosocial support, the Centre also administers tests of Alzheimer’s disease and dementia by specialists. Dieticians provide training on healthy eating and draw up diet lists. Established with the support of Kilis Governorship and Municipality, the Centre has since founding served approximately 200 persons. Currently, 137 individuals including 109 women and 28 men benefit from the activities.

Photo: Eren Korkmaz

Following the visit at the Centre, Bahar Toksoy Guidetti visited Argande production atelier and listened to the benefits to and success stories of women working there.

Established by a partnership of GAP RDA in cooperation with UNDP to empower women socially and economically in the region, Argande brand has been in operation since 2008 with women from Southeast Anatolia creating indigenous fabrics and collections with voluntary contributions from renowned designers. Named after the sole goddess of Kommagene Kingdom that reigned in the Mesopotamia, Argande uses the elements of cultural heritage in its collections. The brand reached out to approximately 1,000 women through production that highlighted the regional values, and rejuvenated the indigenous fabrics whose production had once receded to a few workshops, created 16 distinct collections and showed up at Istanbul Fashion Week by its 65 designs.

Photo: Eren Korkmaz

Continuing its operations under the roof of the GAP Social and Economic Development and Enterprise Cooperative, the brand undertakes its production in Argande production atelier. Inspired by such cultural heritage elements as Zeugma and Gobeklitepe, Argande’s new generation collections are sold at its online stores.

To follow Kilis Elderly Day Care Centre on Instagram: @kilisaktifyasamevi

For more information on Argande: www.argande.org

To buy Argande products, please visit: https://bit.ly/3DIWRf2

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