Istanbul’s local community center celebrates 10th year with cultural events
Öykü Altuntaş – ISTANBUL / Doğan News AgencyA local community center at the heart of Istanbul’s Beyoğlu district, Tarlabaşı Community Center (TTM), is set to celebrate its 10th anniversary with year-long events focusing on multiculturalism and peace.
The first of those events is a short film contest under the motto, “There is space here for every one” (Burada Herkese Yer Var) in association with UKA Film.
The last date to apply to the contest is March 11.
TTM Chief Social Service Expert Ceren Suntekin said the idea to run a short film contest came out of a desire to fight all kinds of discrimination and racism while spreading multicultural peace culture.
The award ceremony will be held on April 29 with a jury including prominent directors, actors and film critics.
Meanwhile, Suntekin also added that that the 10th anniversary celebrations would continue with a forum called “Interchildren Child Rights Forum” in May, which will be followed by a street festival in October and a panel gathering different segments of the Tarlabaşı neighborhood at the end of the year.
Founded in 2005, TTM serves to engage locals in city life, offering equal opportunities to all its disenfranchised residents. It also provides support and counselling for more than 13,000 disadvantaged children, youth and women.
“The Association to Support Tarlabaşı Society [TTD], which performs the center’s activity, was founded in 2007 as a part of project prepared for Beyoğlu-Tarlabaşı area, which is a host to many different cultures, migration-based adaptation problems, poverty, unemployment and illegal relationships, with a support from the European Commission’s The European Initiative for Democracy and Human Rights Micro Project Programme,” Suntekin said.
The activities of the center include study time, personal support, literacy support programs as well as rhythm and body percussion, creative drama and alternative art workshops.
For the young, there are also body health and social equality courses along with literacy support, English classes and reproductive health courses for adults. TTM also supports Turkish courses for migrants living in Tarlabaşı region, while also providing psychological and legal support for locals.
It also plans house visits to mothers of children regarding their needs, whether it be education or health-related.
However, the center has struggled with sustainability and finding income sources.
“I have been working since its foundation. I am trying to keep the center alive by continuing its activities and services but trying to find [financial] sources is tiring and corrosive,” Suntekin said, adding that the center is run entirely by volunteers.
She added that TTM has created a network with many NGOs over the past 10 years, including the Sabancı Foundation, Swedish Consulate and EMpower Foundation. The center also does joint projects with local NGOs in Istanbul.