Empower 300 Girls through Education in Turkey

by Bridge to Turkiye Fund

Bridge to Turkiye Fund - Providing Scholarships to Disadvantaged Turkish Girls - January 2014 Update

“Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use TO CHANGE THE WORLD!” – Nelson Mandela

We hope you had an enjoyable holiday season with family and friends and looking forward to all the great things the New Year has to offer. 

2013 has been a remarkable year for the Bridge to Turkiye Fund’s (BTF’s) Girls’ Empowerment Scholarships Program, thanks to the continued support and dedication from people like you. We are excited and proud to report that, in its fourth year of existence, we’ve been able to grow the scholarship program from 27 to 80 academically gifted but economically disadvantaged girls from rural communities in Turkey. When considering that our goal in 2013 was to support 50 girls, this was truly an amazing achievement.

We continue to collaborate with our trusted partner in Turkey, the Association for Supporting Contemporary Life (Çagdas Yasam Destekleme Dernegi [CYDD]). This year, we’ve changed the program’s focus to support high school and college students while we continue to support our existing elementary and middle school students. Going forward, any new scholar will be a high school or university student to address the issue that 34 percent of girls don’t attend high school, drop out rates are very high, and attendance in universities is very low in Turkey. For many of these girls, education ends prematurely due to poverty. Therefore, these scholarships are vital to keeping these girls in school.

We believe that every girl deserves the best possible chance at living her dream, but they can't do it alone. They need a helping hand along the way. That's why BTF has made it a priority to help children and promote gender equality in Turkey through educational scholarships. With your generous support, we're working towards bridging the gender gap in Turkey by helping women and girls achieve full potential and participation in every aspect of our society.

Over the past three years, we have been amazed at how quickly the BTF’s Girls’ Empowerment Scholarship Program has grown, and how much good it has done. We believe that the best is yet to come and we have big plans for 2014. 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 believe that, with your support, there are no limits to what we can achieve together. And in 2014, as we expand our program to support more girls, we will need your help more than ever. There's no better time to lend your support for the work ahead. Please join us as we continue to build a better world and a brighter future for girls in rural Turkey. We can’t do this important work without you.

Can you help us kick off 2014 stronger than ever? Please SPONSOR a student and help her rise out of poverty and give her hope for a better future by visiting: http://goto.gg/9853.

We wish you and your loved ones a very happy and healthy New Year and extend our gratitude from everyone at BTF.

Very Truly Yours,

Bridge to Türkiye Fund

Some of BTF
Some of BTF's Scholars through CYDD

October 11 is the UN’s International Day of the Girl Child

The International Day of the Girl Child (IDGC) is just around the corner (October 11th) and your friends at Bridge to Turkiye Fund (BTF) would like to call your attention to the challenges and barriers to girls' education from around the world and particularly in Turkey to commemorate the Day.  The IDGC was declared by the United Nations in 2012 to recognize girls’ rights globally and support action to address discrimination.

According to World Bank, in Turkey, the educational system does not provide enough access for the economically vulnerable rural girls, particularly for secondary education. The existing distributional gap between urbanized and rural Turkey, and between men and women, will not be eradicated unless there is truly equal educational opportunity for all Turkish children. In Eastern and Southeastern Turkey, over 45 percent of girls are illiterate. For many girls, especially those from marginalized communities, education continues to remain a distant dream due to various reasons — distance from home to school, finances, social and cultural barriers and so on. As BTF, we have pledged to do our part in eliminating economics as a barrier in getting an education for socio-economically disadvantaged girls in rural Turkey.

With continued interest and support from donors like you, in 2013-14 educational year, BTF aims to expand its program to provide scholarships to 50+ marginalized young women and adolescent girls from rural Turkiye. In collaboration with our trusted partner in Turkey: Cagdas Yasimi Destekleme Dernegi (CYDD-Association for Support of Contemporary Living), we are in the process of identifying additional girls who will qualify for BTF’s Girls’ Empowerment scholarships.  Exact number of students will be provided in the next report.

We are happy to announce that one of our scholars (G.K.) supported by this program has graduated from law school and aspires to be a judge. We are certain that G.K. will make a difference in her community and for Turkish society.

You, too, can take part in transforming a girl’s life! Come join us and imagine for a second…

… a world where girls are offered the equal educational opportunities as boys are…

… a world where girls are not forced to get married at an early age; and they could live their childhood…

… a world where girls are given the equal opportunity to reach their full potential…

So, partner with us in creating such world! Because when you educate a girl, you can break cycles of poverty and illiteracy in just one generation. 

Remember: big changes start small. Contribute as much as you can, become a sponsor, spread the word, and be a part of the change. Educating girls is smart for all of us!

We can’t thank you enough for your continued support.

For more information about IDGC, please visit: http://www.un.org/en/events/girlchild/






Scholars from Rural Regions of Turkey
Scholars from Rural Regions of Turkey

Late Prof. Dr. Türkan Saylan, the legendary President and founding member of the Association for Supporting Contemporary Life (ÇYDD), believed that the most important problem in Türkiye is providing equal educational opportunities for both boys and girls, through a universal education system with contemporary, secular principles for all…  

Girls’ education is one of the smartest and single most cost-effective investments we can make in our homeland, Türkiye.

In the year 2000, United Nations established the Millennium Development Goal to promote gender equality and empower young women based on the notion that access to education is a basic human right and is a significant factor in reducing poverty and in improving the quality of life for young women and girls and their communities.

Your generous support, together with the work of Bridge to Türkiye, will help marginalized girls in Türkiye realize their dreams.

Please join BTF through its collaboration with ÇYDD to contribute to creating lasting positive change in Türkiye by empowering these young women with an opportunity to develop into productive citizens. Now is the time to step up our efforts to bridge the gender gap in education, empower marginalized women, and help them give back to their communities through a simple gift of scholarships for academically gifted but economically disadvantaged girls and young women.

Please give a gift today and BTF will leverage your support to transform the futures of rural young women and girls and strengthen communities in Türkiye.

Thanks for believing that each of us can really make a difference at the grassroots level…



Bridge to Türkiye Fund


Transform a marginalized adolescent girl’s life through the gift of education in rural Turkey!

Dear Supporter:

Chapter IV paragraph 4.2 of the Program of Action of the International Conference on Population and Development states: "Education is one of the most important means of empowering women with the knowledge, skills and self-confidence necessary to participate fully in the development process. Despite notable efforts by many countries around the globe that have appreciably expanded access to basic education, there are approximately 960 million illiterate adults in the world, of whom two-thirds are women. There are 130 million children who are not enrolled in primary school and 70 per cent of them are girls.”  

As in many parts of the world, girls in Turkey still face obstacles to education that boys do not. Girls comprise approximately 72 percent of all unschooled children in Turkey.  Your support helps Bridge to Turkiye Fund (BTF) in contributing to the progress of bridging the gender gap by providing scholarships for marginalized young girls from rural regions of Turkey. Access to education is a basic human right. Education is a significant factor in reducing poverty and a key to improving quality of life for girls and young women, communities, and countries.

Did you know that for just $45 per month, you can give the gift of education to a child in secondary education in Turkey?

In this update, we are happy to share with you a personal letter we received from one of BTF’s scholarship recipients, Dilek who is a 5th grade student from Erzurum. The letter below is roughly translated as follows:

To My Dear Second Family Who Supports Me!

Although I have never met anyone of you, I love you dearly. Your support has really made me very happy. 

My seven siblings and I have spent difficult days since my mom passed away. We are just recovering. Your support came right after those gloomy days. That's why I feel so lucky and happy. I am able to meet my basic needs and buy tests and books with the scholarship you have given me. I feel less of a burden on my father, because I can buy the books I need on my own. Now, I am also more interested in reading books. I have more interest in getting an education. I will do my best to work hard not to waste the support of my father, my siblings, my elderly sisters, and yours. With your support, I'm trying harder each new day because I know I have two families. I am proud of them both. With the strength from God and your support, I will try not to waste your efforts. As I conclude my letter, I hope that you will never forget that I love you all…I hope the day will come and you will see me as a proud teacher. When that day arrives you will have a daughter who will always love and who will never forget you. You have a daughter in Erzurum Karacoban who remembers you in her every prayer. May God's love be with you!


Your Loving Daughter, 



Please continue to help support the work of BTF and make a difference in the life of a young girl.

Thanks, as always, for your support!

A Letter from one of BTF
A Letter from one of BTF's Scholars from Erzurum
Educating girls is a smart investment.
Educating girls is a smart investment.

Together, we are a force for women’s empowerment in rural regions of Turkey…

Dear Supporter:

2012 has been quite a year for the Medine Memi Memorial Girls’ Empowerment Scholarships Project, thanks to the staunch support and dedication from people like you. We are excited and proud to report that we’ve have been able to expand the program to include 16 more academically gifted but economically disadvantaged young women and girls from various rural regions of Turkey. This brings the total scholarships paid so far to nearly $22,000. Of the 16 new scholars supported by this program, 13 are university students who were carefully selected by the Association for Supporting Contemporary Life (Çagdas Yasam Destekleme Dernegi [CYDD]) for “BIR ISIK DA SIZ YAKIN.” BTF is proud to support CYDD as this project aims to provide quality education to young women, who face economic hardship, to continue with their university education and to give them the opportunity to become leaders in their communities in Turkey.

By the end of 2012, we awarded 17 scholarships to college students and 36 to girls in elementary and high school. The average annual scholarships award ranged from $360 to $1080 per student. Our goal is to raise the number of students supported by this program to 50 in 2013. We are excited to also share that one of our students in this program will be graduating this year with a law degree and aspires to be a prosecuting attorney in Turkey. Two of our high school graduates got accepted to dentistry and law schools based on their impressively high scores earned in the university entrance exams.

Bridge to Turkiye Fund (BTF) believes that education for girls is one of the best strategies for protecting girls against violence, abuse, child marriage, and discrimination. Thus, BTF continues its commitment to helping young girls build a better future for themselves and their families, communities, and the World. Together, we can make meaningful and measurable differences in the lives of girls by giving them equal access to education (a fundamental right) to improve their chances to succeed and to raise the next generation of leaders and philanthropists who will continue BTF’s mission to educate girls.

In the coming year, we hope you will consider renewing your support with a tax-deductible contribution to the Medine Memi Girls’ Empowerment Scholarships by donating at the GlobalGiving project page. BTF will direct 100% of your donations to eligible young girls who are supported by this program.

We are very grateful to have you in our community. On behalf of BTF and our young scholars, we thank you and wish you and your families all the best in 2013.

Bridge to Türkiye Fund



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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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