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ERSU ABLAK >Do you want to make a difference?

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The age of digital communication and social media has given us many opportunities we did not have ten years ago. We can now support whatever cause we like with greater ease. We can identify and contribute to people who we probably wouldn’t hear about if they were operating in the 1990’s simply because they would be lacking the funds to go public.

Crowdsourcing platforms like Fongogo have made it a lot easier for dreamers to realize their life-long dreams. These platforms are also empowering women like no others can. Many women I talk to usually say it is very difficult to enter certain circles where the big money is being distributed. In countries like Turkey where there are not enough women executives, it is even harder to enter the big boys clubs.
 
Right now, there are two documentary projects in Fongogo that are the life-long dreams of two great women. One of them is called “Sıradışı İnsanlar- Unusual People” and it is about the people of the Black Sea region. The documentary focuses on the innovation capabilities of the people who live in the region. The Black Sea region in northern Turkey has the highest density of forests and the most rain when compared to other regions in the country. This brings certain obstacles that the people who live in other regions don’t usually have to face. The documentary will tell the stories of these people who overcame geographic difficulties over time with their own innovations. The project is led by Nurdan Tümbek Tekeoğlu, a teacher at Beykent University.

The second is called “Piri Reis” and it is devoted to the life of cartographer Piri Reis and his maps. He is primarily known today for his maps and charts collected in his Kitab-ı Bahriye (Book of Navigation), a book that contains detailed information on navigation, as well as very accurate charts (for their time) describing the important ports and cities of the Mediterranean Sea. He gained fame as a cartographer when a small part of his first world map (prepared in 1513) was discovered in 1929 at Topkapı Palace in Istanbul. His world map is the oldest known Turkish atlas showing the New World, and one of the oldest maps of America still in existence anywhere (the oldest known map of America that is still in existence is the map drawn by Juan de la Cosa in 1500). Piri Reis’ map is centered on the Sahara at the latitude of the Tropic of Cancer.

In 1528, Piri Reis drew a second world map, of which a small fragment (showing Greenland and North America from Labrador and Newfoundland in the north to Florida, Cuba, Jamaica and parts of Central America in the south) still survives. According to his imprinting text, he had drawn his maps using about 20 foreign charts and mappae mundi (Arab, Spanish, Portuguese, Chinese, Indian and Greek), including one by Christopher Columbus. The project is led by Gülşah Çeliker, an avid researcher about the life and times of Piri Reis.

Both projects have a strong technological and innovative aspect to them and they are being led by wonderful women. So, if you want to make a difference today, go to the Fongogo website and support them.

Maybe we cannot change everything at once. Maybe we cannot shake up the people in authority and make them realize technological content and women should be supported, but we can do it ourselves and change everything for these two women.

March/12/2015

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