Help Victims of Turkey Mine Disaster

by Turkish Philanthropy Funds
Help Victims of Turkey Mine Disaster

Dear Friend:

Turkish Philanthropy Funds (TPF)  is proud to announce the recipients from its Soma Disaster Relief Fund. Through generous support of more than 500 donors, TPF raised over $139,000 to be distributed to the following three organizations:

  • Cagdas Yasami Destekleme Dernegi (Association for the Support of Contemporary Living, CYDD) in the amount of $45,000
  • Darussafaka Cemiyeti (Darussafaka Society) in the amount of $45,000
  • Anne Cocuk Egitim Vakfi (Mother Child Education Foundation, ACEV) in the amount of $30,000

We are honored that you selected TPF. We are also proud that our community came together under the umbrella of TPF; eight Turkish-American organizations channeled their giving through TPF, and many others directed their members to give through TPF’s campaign, knowing how carefully we will choose the ultimate recipients.

After analyzing the needs in detail, since the government’s disaster agency, AFAD (Disaster and Emergency Management Presidency), provided emergency aid for recovery, TPF decided to support organizations involved in rebuilding and resilience activities in Soma and surrounding towns.

Our decision on awarding grants was based on the following factors:

  • Most of the relief efforts targeted Soma. However, the victims spread to more than 15 towns. 
  • All scholarships, to the children of miners who lost their lives, are being administered by AFAD.
  • 301 lives were lost at the Soma mining disaster. This left 418 children with no fathers. Thirty-two percent of these children are under the age of five, 38 percent are attending elementary school, and 24 percent are over 12 years of age. Fifty-one percent of school-aged children are boys and 49 percent are girls.

Based on these findings, TPF has decided to fund the following projects:

  • Establishment of a Cultural Activity Center in SOMA by CYDD: The Cultural Activity Center will feature creative studios for children, provide sessions for psychosocial support and offer skill-building workshops to both men and women. TPF’s grant will assist CYDD in the purchase of the building that will house the Center and will help with the operating costs of the first year.
  • Scholarships through Darussafaka Society: Darussafaka Society with approval from AFAD provides scholarships to students who lost their fathers at the mining tragedy. TPF's grant will provide full scholarships for one year at Darussafaka Schools to four students who qualify by passing an entrance exam.
  • Establishment of a Child Education Center in KINIK by ACEV:  The Child Education Center will address mid to long-term needs of the towns affected by the disaster, and will be operated in partnership with the Ministry of Family and Social Affairs and the local municipality. The center will operate a variety of educational programs from pre-school education, play and reading groups and family education to adult literacy, serving 1,500 to 2,000 families per year.

Turkish Philanthropy Funds is still dedicated to finding projects that can diversify income generation in the town of Soma and neighboring communities. We will support and collaborate with organizations that can provide new avenues for revenue generation and increase opportunities for employment in sectors other than mining. 

We appreciate your trust in Turkish Philanthropy Funds and thank you once again for your generosity.

Kind Regards,

Team TPF





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Dear Friend, 

TPF is working diligently to make your donation go as far as possible and have the maximum impact to provide relief to the victims of the disaster in Soma. Immediatley following the disaster, we turned to our partners on the ground who are the experts in the field and who know what is needed most. However, our partners have experienced obstacles in providing immediate relief in the area. Up until recently, the Turkish government was not allowing nonprofits provide social services in the town. They themselves have provided relief and scholarships to the victims and their families. TPF and other nonprofits, in the interim, have been assessing the situation to learn how to provide the most sustainable, long-term support. 

The current situation revealed that the mine that exploded was in Soma, but those affected from the tragedy spread to over 15 towns. Therefore, our partners are generating plans to provide support and relief to surrounding towns. We've also learned that 32% of the children who lost their fathers are under the age of five, 38% are in primary school and 24% are over the age of 12. Of the 418 children affected, eight are disabled. Additionally, nine of the wives of vicitims are pregnant. 

From these statistics, TPF has futher adjusted it's plans within the area to the following sectors. Nonprofits in Turkey are all interested in projects that can provide long-term impact and solution to the problem of mining in Turkey. We're also intereted in diversifying options for income generation or advocating on energy policies will have an impact on the whole community, not just the ones directly impacted by the tragedy. And lastly, the most important and urgent need is noted as pscyho-social support. Right now, these services are only provided by the government.

We have finally been able to identify key projects with whom TPF will be working. We will be making the announcement in the coming days and will keep all donors up to date. It is important to note that some donors have specified where they would like their donations to be used and TPF will be allocating those funds as per their request. 

Please keep an eye out for our next report that will give a more detailed explanation as to the usage of the funds. 

Thank you,


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Why TPF?

We understand that local NGOs are the first on the scene when disasters occur and that they know best what assistance is needed and understand the complex political, social and cultural context of a disaster. TPF has been working with organizations on the ground in Turkey providing social services, helping communities cope with disasters and educating the future generation. Currently, we have 38 formal partners in Turkey and a big network that we can tap into to get real-time updates. These connections enable us to make our grants wisely and be efficient.

Currently, our focus on the “three Rs” - Recovery, Rebuilding and Resilience – is an example of the strategic way we work on issues crucial to our communities after a disaster. Your help ensures a fourth: Results.

What’s happening in terms of relief efforts right now?

A new initiative, SITAP (Civil Society Platform for Disasters) responded relatively quickly to the SOMA disaster bringing together organizations that are providing and are planning to provide social services in the area to discuss the efficiency and effectiveness of the aid.  A summary of their initial assessments in the region is as follows:

  • All relief and recovery efforts are led by the government agency, AFAD (Disaster & Emergency Management Presidency) through related Ministries. However, AFAD’s communication with civil society organizations is very limited.
  • Security forces control all entries to the town of SOMA.
  • The main need of many civil society organizations is correct and rapid information on the needs of the affected.
  • Many organizations have started fundraising campaigns and are getting ready to respond, however for efficiency and not to be replicated, efforts need to be coordinated.
  • The mine that exploded was in the town of SOMA. However, the people that died or were affected from the tragedy spread to more than 15 towns and villages. Therefore, basing all relief efforts to SOMA will not provide the needed support.
  • Diversifying options for income generation or advocating for other energy resources will have an impact on the whole community, not just the ones directly impacted by the tragedy.
  • The most important and urgent need is noted as psychosocial support. At present, only the government provides these services.
  • All civil society organizations that came together under the umbrella of SITAP are interested in providing long-term solutions to problems facing the mining industry in Turkey.

When will TPF start making grants?

TPF has sent a call for proposals to all of its grantee partners asking for applications. The applications will be reviewed and grants will be made on a rolling basis. Additionally, we have been in touch with organizations that TPF has not worked before but have been introduced, as they’re active on the ground in the disaster area. Currently, these organizations have been going through TPF’s eligibility process to be able to apply for a grant. We will announce the grants as we make them.

Our Priorities Now

After a disaster strikes, TPF sees its role as filling gaps between emergency relief and long-term development programs. TPF’s priority right now is to provide support on the following areas:

  1. Education: TPF wants to prioritize providing financial support to the children of miners who have lost their lives. However, we also understand that the funds raised for scholarships have surpassed the need so we will work with organizations that also provide education on mine security, decreasing the probability of accidents and first-aid to miners; and organizations that provide skill enhancing skills to women who now has to become breadwinners of their families.
  2. Psychosocial support: Even though the town of Soma has been singled out after the disaster, the casualties were from more than 15 neighboring towns and villages. Hence, TPF is interested in supporting projects that can provide psychosocial support to people impacted in those other towns as well.
  3. Diversifying income generation: TPF is interested in supporting organizations that can provide new avenues for revenue generation and increase opportunities for employment in sectors other than mining. These might include projects to develop agriculture in the area or establishing workshops or co-operatives to train women and create new income opportunities.

Our Arrangements for the Future

Our Van Earthquake experience has taught us that coordination among civil society organizations providing relief efforts is very important right after a disaster when needs are immense and funding is limited. Effective coordination allows funds to be allocated efficiently and effectively. Additionally, the government needs to also coordinate recovery and rebuilding efforts with civil society organizations.  If enough funds are raised, TPF plans to support initiatives that can help with the coordination efforts among civil society organizations to prepare communities and civil society sector in large for future disasters.

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Organization Information

Turkish Philanthropy Funds

Location: New York, NY - USA
Project Leader:
Senay Ataselim
New York, NY United States

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