Camp to gather kids of different ethnic groups
ISTANBUL- Hürriyet Daily News
According to the project the children would be instructed on various subjects such as Red Crescent philosophy, tolerance and living together during the camp. The children will teach their own customs and traditions to each other. DAILY NEWS photo.
A youth camp on Heybeliada island is preparing to host 80 children between the ages of 12 and 15 for a unique gathering bringing together many different ethnic groups under the auspices of the Turkish Red Crescent.
Avedis Hilkat, who is the chief executive officer of the Red Crescent’s branch on the Princes’ Islands, said he was extremely excited to bring something new to Turkey.
“As the Red Crescent, we want all the colors of Turkey to get to know each other from their childhood, including Turks, Kurds, Armenians, Greeks, Syriacs, Jews, Chaldeans, and Circassians. We will try to show that differences create this country’s wealth,” Hilkat said.
The Heybeliada Youth Camp will host youth from Turkey as part of a project called the “Traces of Multicultural Life.” A unit of experts consisting of 20 people will accompany the children during the camp. “Adalar district [the islands’ jurisdiction] houses all the differences in a peaceful and multicultural atmosphere, regardless of distinctions such as Muslim vs. non-Muslim,” Hilkat said, adding that that they chose Heybeliada to host the camp for that reason. Hilkat said their point of departure was the proverb “As the twig is bent, so grows the tree.” “We aim to teach our children solidarity, love and friendship regardless of differences in religion, language, and race, which is in accordance with the philosophy of the Red Crescent. Their socializing with each other at that age will change their worldview and bring them different perspectives. Not only Turkish children, but also our children belonging to different cultures will realize that each of them is an integral part of a whole,” Hilkat said. The Red Crescent official said the children would be instructed on various subjects such as Red Crescent philosophy, tolerance and living together during the camp. “Plays will be staged, pantomime shows will be held, and the children will teach their own customs and traditions to each other. Also they will get to know all the islands [in Adalar district], starting with Heybeliada,” Hilkat said. The camp will be held between Aug. 9 and 18 this year and is expected to become a yearly event.
Children from Adıyaman and Şemdinli first guests
Hilkat said the camp land was bought by the Red Crescent last year and had a 120-person capacity and added that it would host children from Istanbul and Anatolia. The first guests from Anatolia will come from the eastern localities of Adıyaman and Şemdinli.
He also said they were holding negotiations with the governors of different provinces, patriarchates and spiritual leaders for minority communities. “We have received positive reactions from both official channels and families for the project,” Hilkat said.