Eczacıbaşı Holding hygiene program extended to reach 25 new schools
The idea of having a YBO dates back to 1923, to the early days of the Republic, with the first YBO beginning to operate in 1939.After a ride in Konya valley with lands that expand until the horizon, the bus carrying Eczacıbaşı Holding’s executives reach Eskil Boarding Regional School, known by their acronym in Turkish, YBO.
There are an equal number of girls and boys greeting the Eczacıbaşı team with cheers, a rather striking phenomenon in this rural part of Anatolia, where families sometimes tend to refrain from sending their daughters to school.
“We don’t have a problem of convincing families to send their daughters to school,” said Aksaray’s district governor Mustafa İlhan. “We are surrounded by 86 plateaus. The problem is rather bringing the students to the schools,” he added.
YBOs have been established to address the problem of providing access to education to students who live in small villages scattered over vast areas where the state can’t provide a school for each of these villages. The idea of having a YBO dates back to 1923, to the early days of the Republic, with the first YBO beginning to operate in 1939. Currently, there are 387 YBOs in 69 towns with 121,000 students. They are, however, not the best schools in Turkey when it comes to their physical conditions.
Eczacıbaşı, a prominent Turkish Industrial group active in construction products, healthcare and consumer products, initiated the Hygiene project in 2007 to improve the physical conditions in some of these schools. With the contribution of VitrA, one of Eczacıbaşı’s 41 companies, which has established itself as one of the world’s top providers of bathroom and tiling solutions for homes and commercial venues, the group has so far renovated the bathrooms and wet areas of 28 YBOs, while work is continuing in seven more schools. Some 13.5 hectares of tile, an equivalent to more than 4,000 of households’ bathrooms, would have been used when the first leg of the project involving 35 schools in 29 cities with 17,000 students was to be finished by 2015. Eczacıbaşı group decided to extend the project for another five years, targeting renovation in 25 additional schools.
The project is taking place with the cooperation and coordination of the Education Ministry, which helps in determining the schools most in need and ensures they have the required plumbing infrastructure.
The project is not just limited to improving physical conditions, but also teaches students about personal care and hygiene practices. “Some of the students see a Western style toilet for the first time in their lives,” said an executive from İpek Kağıt tissue paper, another of the group’s companies. Most of the students come from villages where some toilets are still located outside of the houses.
“We are very proud to provide support for a healthier and cleaner environment. We are also hoping to have students who ask questions, who have dreams and aspirations,” said Faruk Eczacıbaşı, vice chairman of the group. In Eskil YBO Eczacıbaşı Volunteers, who are also part of the project and is largely made up of former Eczacıbaşı employees, have contributed to the realization of musical dreams, as their gift this time was a music classroom equipped with different instruments.