These past two years have been unparalleled with the global health crisis that shook the World to its core, highlighting grim inequalities in all aspects of our lives from healthcare systems, to race, gender, and more importantly in education. The World Bank reported that the pandemic has changed our world in the way we work, travel, communicate, teach, and learn. It is undeniable that the COVID-19 pandemic has had a disproportionate impact on marginalized communities. As the pandemic unfolded and schools closed, millions of students had to participate in online learning from their homes for the first time in their lives. Thus, remote learning due to the pandemic has exposed and widened inequities in education both within our country and among students across the globe. Turkish youth living in underserved communities were no exception as they faced a lack of basic resources like computers and access to the Internet.
Facing the challenges of a global pandemic, BTF volunteers have been working hard to find more ways to expand access to scholarships for more girls in Turkey. We have raised funds through 2021 to provide not only scholarships, but much-needed computers and tablets to students who are particularly hit hard by long-standing inequities in the Turkish education system. We are proud to report that the BTF Empowerment Scholarships Program, in partnership with 17 NGOs and university foundations, supported numerous students from underserved regions of Turkey during the 2021-22 Academic Year, as highlighted below:
Total Number of Scholarships: 1179
Total Number of Students Supported to Date: 5721
Percentage of Female Students Supported: 87%
Number of Laptops and Tablets Provided: 690
Total Investment Funds in Scholarships: $2,630,000
Total Grants to Turkey To Date: Above $5,000,000
These successes were only possible through the generosity of our supporters like you who share our commitment to investing in educational and health programs in Turkey.
We also celebrate the achievements of 171 BTF Scholars who successfully graduated despite the challenges and uncertainties posed by this global health crisis in 2021.
In this report, we are proud to introduce two BTF Spotlight Scholars whom we have been supporting through Çagdas Yasami Destekleme Dernegi:
"First, I would like to thank you for giving me a scholarship especially during these days when everyone thinks about themselves and their own interests. I am a 3rd year civil engineering student. I enjoy my major very much, but unfortunately this is not enough. I am usually confronted with questions like "Isn’t civil engineering difficult for women? Why didn't you choose another major?" It is invaluable for us to know that you trust and support us while many of my friends and I are faced with such questions. Thank you for your hard work and support. Best regards" – Selvi Nur, Class of 2023
“I graduated from Istanbul University Medical School in 2020. I was accepted into the BTF Empowerment Scholarships Program in my freshman year at university. Although I had not yet decided which career to pursue within the medical field, I accepted an invitation to participate in a research project from Karolinska Institute in Sweden in 2017, with the help of the scholarship I received from BTF. This was one of the best decisions I have ever made during my academic career. Before leaving, I corresponded with the BTF mentors who helped me set goals and plan to get the most out of my program. Finally, when I went to the laboratory and got involved in the project, I tried to spend my time in the most efficient way possible and immediately started planning my future research projects. I have decided to become a medical doctor and a research physician. I thought I could pursue this career best in the US, and passed the US Medical Licensing Exams while studying at my medical school. Later, I participated in research studies at the Mayo Clinic and Mount Sinai Hospital in the US and gave presentations at international meetings held in the US and England, and subsequently published articles on my research. I am currently working at the Mayo Clinic as a postdoctoral researcher. In the future, I aspire to be a clinician-researcher/physician and hope to complete my residency program in the US. The BTF family has been supportive of me every time I came to the US for my research programs and has contributed greatly to my development both academicaly and socially. BTF has also given students like us the opportunity to be a part of and support BTF in the future. On behalf of all BTF scholars, I would like to thank all volunteers and supporters for contributing to our growth through educational scholarships.”-- Nazli, Class of 2020
We hope Selvi Nur’s and Nazli’s stories will inspire other young Turkish women to study in the medical and STEM fields. From the feedback we receive, our graduates are anxious to enter their chosen fields and start giving back to their communities.
As BTF continues its commitment to champion educational initiatives to reduce gender inequality and discrimination, your support will empower these students to push past barriers and fulfill their dreams.
We greatly appreciate your invaluable support of our BTF programs. We hope you will join us or continue your support as a donor, a sponsor, or a volunteer for our Empowerment Scholarships Program.
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