Empower 300 Girls through Education in Turkey

by Bridge to Turkiye Fund
Empowerment of and investment in girls are key in breaking the cycle of discrimination and violence and in promoting and protecting the full and effective enjoyment of their human rights” - United Nations Resolution 66/170
The UN has dedicated October 11 as the International Day of the Girl Child to shine a light on the issues concerning gender inequality around the world. We wanted to take this opportunity to remind you of the important work Bridge to Turkiye Fund (BTF) is doing to address gender inequality and advancing rights and opportunities for young women and girls in Turkey. We need your continued support to reach out to more underprivileged young women and help them realize their dreams.
Secondary and higher education paves the way to social and economic empowerment. Access to this level of education is, however, still a distant dream for 62 million girls and women around the world. This is especially true for thousands of young women from rural provinces of Turkey who don’t receive the same quality education as boys, are unable to attend school regularly, and face unsafe conditions as they travel to and from school.
BTF’s Girls’ Empowerment Scholarships Program focuses on educating girls because cycles of poverty and illiteracy can be broken in just one generation. These scholarships can make a substantial difference in encouraging families to send and keep their daughters in school. This year alone, BTF directly supported 259 students through scholarships promoting literacy with a special focus on disadvantaged girls who are not encouraged to go to school. Thanks to generous donations from supporters like you, these young women are staying in school, graduating, and becoming productive members of their communities. Our scholarship recipients have gone into fields of law, education, healthcare, and business. Since 2003, BTF has supported hundreds of projects in Turkey, worth over $1,500,000, all benefiting children and changing their lives forever. It is a record of which we are extremely proud. 
In an interview with Hurriyet, Dr. Aziz Sancar, the recent Nobel Prize recipient in Chemistry, emphasized the importance of educating girls in southern and southeastern Turkey. He further stated that we need to promote girls getting into the fields of science, technology, engineering and math (STEM). If not, we will lose half of our human capital. He spoke out directly to the people from his birthplace in southeastern Turkey, and asked them to send their girls to school. Dr. Sancar is the first Turkish-American scientist to win this prestigious prize. We hope that the scholarships and financial aid we provide these girls will help educate more future Nobel Prize winners in the STEM fields.
This year, BTF plans to reach out to 300 aspiring, but economically disadvantaged young women from rural Turkey. However, we can’t do it without you. Please continue to support Scholarships4Girls to make the impossible possible for these young women and provide them with the life-changing gift of education.  Please watch for our next update, which will include information on the students who graduated during 2015 educational year.
To make a donation to the Scholarships4Girls program, please visit: http://goto.gg/9853.
Best wishes and thanks again for your support!
BTF Team
Aziz Sancar, Nobel Prize Winner in Chemistry
Aziz Sancar, Nobel Prize Winner in Chemistry
BTF Logo
BTF Logo



Dear Supporter:

Bridge to Türkiye Fund (BTF) is deeply saddened by the tragic murder of a young university student ‎Özgecan Aslan in Tarsus, Turkey and condemns all forms of violence against women and girls. This tragic event reminds us of the importance of providing access to contemporary education to both boys and girls.

There is a significant body of research showing how gender equality, women’s rights and women’s empowerment can have a catalytic effect on the achievement of sustained peace, development, human rights and sound relationships between the environment and human populations. It has become clear that a strategic shift needs to occur that brings men and boys side by side with women and girls, in order to break through the barriers preventing women and girls from achieving their full potential and contributing this potential to our global community.

Who is Özgecan Aslan?

Özgecan Aslan was a 20-year old, first-year psychology student who was murdered by a minibus driver as she was returning home from her school in Tarsus, in southern Turkey. The murder of this young woman sparked outrage in Turkey and the international communities and drew attention to the increasing number of violent incidents against women.

 Program Overview:

Inspired by the demonstrated belief that “education is the best investment we can make for social change” Bridge to Türkiye Fund (BTF) has established a memorial fund to honor Özgecan Aslan’s memory and to provide scholarships for young deserving men and women from her native region Tarsus, Turkey.

BTF’s current empowerment scholarship program will be expanded to include scholarships to honor Özgecan’s memory. Our history of supporting underprivileged students with the gift of education dates back to 2004. During the 2014-2015 academic year, BTF provided 259 (217 girls and young women) scholarships to low income students. Scholarships for the Özgecan Aslan Memorial Fund will be awarded on the basis of academic merit to students from low-income families. 100% of donations will support successful students with financial need and will be coordinated through our local trusted NGOs in the region.

What is the issue, problem, or challenge?

Turkey is one of the countries where violence against women occurs with alarming frequency. There is a strong correlation between violence against women and literacy. The achievement of gender equality requires an inclusive approach - a solidarity movement that recognizes the crucial role of men and boys as partners for women’s and girls’ rights.

Potential Long Term Impact

The scholarships will provide economic assistance to university students from low-income families in creating better futures for themselves, their families and communities. These scholarships are vital to keeping the youth in school.

Ultimately, these scholarships will help a new generation of men and women leaders serving as positive change makers in society where every young girl and boy would have the same opportunity to succeed, the chance to live out their dreams.

Please join us and support this important cause. By contributing to Özgecan Aslan Memorial Fund, you will help make a difference in the lives of a rural young woman or a man and make strides towards ending gender inequality.

With Gratitude,

Ozgecan Aslan
Ozgecan Aslan
Achieving Gender Equality Through Education
Achieving Gender Equality Through Education

BTF continues to transform lives through the gift of education for underprivileged young women in rural Turkey!

Dear Friend,

As 2014 comes to a close, we would like to take this opportunity to thank you for supporting Bridge to Turkiye Fund’s (BTF’s) Girls’ Empowerment Scholarships Program. For the 2014-15 academic year, we had set a goal of supporting 100 bright but economically disadvantaged young women and girls from rural regions of Turkey.  With your generous support and donations, we exceeded our goal and 159 qualified young women and girls received a scholarship. Our newest scholarship recipients were chosen among students studying law, medicine, and education. In 2014, we had three high school and four university students graduated.

Secondary, tertiary and continuing education is the door that leads to social and economic empowerment. Access to this level of education is, however, still a distant dream for millions of girls and women around the world.  This is especially true for young women from rural regions of Turkey.  We believe education is key to combatting early marriage, illiteracy, school dropout, and low wages which are common issues faced by millions of girls in Turkey. With access to proper educational resources and guidance, a girl can reshape her destiny. More importantly, providing education will make a difference now and for generations to come giving women greater educational and economic opportunities.

In 2015, our New Year’s resolution is to continue our work and expand our reach to 200 promising but economically disadvantaged girls so that they can reach their full potential. We hope you will continue to support our program to build towards a better world in 2015. We simply couldn't do it without you.

Thank you again for sharing our passion of helping to empower young women in Turkey and building stronger communities around the world.

From everyone at the Bridge to Turkiye Fund – have a happy and healthy holiday season.



Educating Girls is Smart for All of Us!


Dear Supporter and Friend:

We are pleased to share with you our latest update on the Bridge to Türkiye Fund’s (BTF) Girls’ Empowerment Scholarship Program.

In our last update, we reported that, in 2013-14 academic year, BTF provided scholarships for 85 bright, deserving young women and girls from rural Turkey. Of the girls we supported, three students graduated from high school who are now university bound. And, six students graduated from college with degrees in law, business administration, and mathematics.

Thanks to your generosity, these young women are staying in school, graduating, and becoming productive members of the Turkish society!

Your continued support enables us to invest in the future of these young women who otherwise don’t have the economic means to continue their education. Through your support, these young women and girls will have a chance to live better lives and promote a Turkish society where women have a voice and role in their communities.

This academic year, our aim is to expand our program to reach 100 young women. Exact number of students will be provided in the next status report. We are hopeful that you will continue with your support to help us reach our goal. We believe that with every student we educate, we get one step closer to the day where a person’s birthplace, economic background, or gender no longer determines their future.

Thank you again for joining us in our quest to provide educational opportunities to deserving young women in rural regions of Turkey. And thank you for believing that the world can be better place, for supporting the BTF Girls’ Empowerment Scholarships Program, and for transforming these girls’ lives.

Best regards,

Bridge to Türkiye Fund

May 2014 Update

“If you want to go quickly, go alone. If you want to go far, go together” – African Proverb

Dilek, a 6th grader from Erzurum, Turkey, is just another young girl who hopes to become a teacher someday. Unfortunately, if she doesn’t receive financial support, she will not be able to fulfill her dream, and what is worse is that she may be forced by her family to get married before she reaches 18 due to economic hardship.

Deniz is a senior journalism student in college who aspires to earn a doctorate degree in communication & jourmalism and educate new generations of journalists to high standards of quality in journalism while working towards achieving an independent, objective, free press in Turkey. 

Bahar is a second year law student in Istanbul who wants to make a difference in establishing judicial systems that would build a Turkish society free from gender, ethnic, and religious discrimination, and achieving freedom of speech and expression in her country.

Duygu, a senior student, studying business administration at the Istanbul University whose dream is to be a world-renowned economist and win the Nobel Prize in economics some day. Duygu realizes that this is a challenging goal to achieve; however, she believes that everything begins with believing in yourself and following your dreams. And all significant, so-called impossible achievements in this world were accomplished by those who followed their dreams, took courageous strides, and believed that they would could happen.

These are just a few of the 85 bright young women supported through the BTF’s Girls’ Empowerment Scholarships Program in 2014.

The illiteracy rate among young women in the eastern and southeastern Turkey is estimated at 45 percent. For many years, the Turkish government and various NGOs have worked to improve the situation. But the economic hardship, restrictive traditions, distance to schools, and insufficient number of dormitories prevented many girls from access to education.

According to CNNTurk’s special report on 4/23/14, the rate of girls attending school after primary school sharply declined in Turkey. For example, unschooled girls after primary school in eastern Anatolia are estimated at 74% and 82.7% in the southeastern Anatolia.

Despite the difficulties they face, these girls have high hopes for a better future just like any young girl growing up in developed countries.  We know that educating girls has enormous social and economic benefits and has been identified as a primary means toward national development. This is why the BTF’s Girls’ Empowerment Program focuses on providing financial support to bright young women from poor families and who show the most potential for success.

Next academic year, we wish to expand the scholarship program to support 100 deserving young women and girls to help them get an education so that they can be productive members of their communities.

We greatly appreciate your continued support, generosity, and contributions to this important cause and enabling us to make a real difference in the lives of these young women and girls. Please continue to support this program so that we can help more young women to rise out of poverty and give them their future by visiting: http://goto.gg/9853.

We are counting on your continued support. Future generations are counting on you.


The BTF Team

$45 covers Esin
$45 covers Esin's monthly educational expenses

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Organization Information

Bridge to Turkiye Fund

Location: Cary, NC - USA
Website: http:/​/​www.bridgetoturkiye.org
Project Leader:
Sevda Aleckson
Cary, North Carolina United States

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