‘Needs Map’ charts schoolchildren’s needs across Turkey
ISTANBULA map charting the needs of school-aged children across Turkey has been created to bring together those in need and those who wish to help them.
The project, named the “Needs Map,” was first launched by a small group of volunteers, including Turkish actor Mert Fırat, one-and-a-half years ago. It is now being used to meet the needs of thousands of schools, particularly in Turkey’s eastern provinces, such as books, paperwork, writing materials, and clothes.
Posts for requesting and offering help can be made via www.ihtiyacharitasi.org, though the website has yet to open an English-language version.
Teachers at schools around Turkey post ads on the website to ask for the essential needs of school-aged children such as shoes, school bags and coats, in order to reach those who wish to help.
The initiative has aroused interest of thousands of people within a short period of time, and 1,300 items have been sent to those in need since the launch of the project. The website has attracted 4,000 subscribers so far.
“We started the project one-and-a-half years ago and we kicked off our website in October this year,” said Elif Kalan, one of the project’s pioneers.
“We started this project as three people. Now, we’re 10. Hundreds of lists of needs come every day. We expected the project would draw this much of attention in the beginning,” Kalan said.
The main goal of the Needs Map is described on its website as raising “systematic” awareness of the basic needs of school-aged children by city and by neighborhood, and easing the meeting of those needs by private citizens and institutions.
In Turkey’s eastern provinces, most postings are related to asking for extra clothes, with winter looming.
There are also postings asking for volunteer teachers for children of soldiers killed in terrorist acts, as well as children aged between seven and 15 who live in villages in the southeastern province of Mardin.
Those who want to volunteer to help the Needs Map initiative are invited to subscribe to the initiative by creating profiles stating their capabilities and skills.