Disabled actress devoted life to those in need

Disabled actress devoted life to those in need

Ece Çelik – ISTANBUL
Disabled actress devoted life to those in need

A disabled woman who achieved success as an actress by performing in stage plays has devoted her life to supporting people with disabilities.

“I suffered poliomyelitis when I was 1.5 years old due to a vaccine administration error and had a terrible childhood then,” Gamze Elibol Yavuz said on May 2.

Her dream was always to be an actress, but everyone surrounding her said she could not be one.

She could not be eligible for entering the conservatory exams as the admission criteria had no provision for people with disabilities in those days.

At 20 years old, she decided to form the Culture, Art and Education Center With No Burdens (TEKSEM).

Until now, she has staged more than 500 plays in various cities. With the money earned from the plays, she started supporting more than 100 disabled girls’ education costs.

Not only this, but she also created a marketplace on her center’s website where families of disabled children can sell whatever they produce, such as food, key holders, dresses and more, online.

Spending her life in a wheelchair, she knows how important it is for a disabled person to have a wheelchair. “We donate wheelchairs to people in need across the country,” she said, adding that people gave her the nickname “Sister hope.”

Now, disabled people can enter conservatory qualifications thanks to Yavuz’s legal fight she gave for 17 years.

“When they told me I could not enter exams, I was 20, and the bottom fell out of my world. Ever since then, I fought to get that right.”

Her latest effort for disabled people is penning down a book called “Mavi’s Adventures.” She will donate all the money earned by the sale of the book again to those in need.

“Mavi is a girl in a wheelchair. I wanted to write such a story to be a guide for families with disabled children.”