Turkey’s Changemakers: A district is changing
The Sabancı Foundation’s Turkey’s Changemakers Program continues in its 6th season to share the unique stories of extraordinary people who contribute to social development. The 8th Changemaker of the 6th season is Mustafa Bektaş.
The Nallıhan Tourism Volunteers Association was established in 2005 under the leadership of Bektaş in Nallihan, a historical and natural district of Ankara, in order to protect, improve, determine and market the touristic, cultural and natural values of the district.
Under the leadership of Mustafa Bektaş, guest houses and cultural centers were established in nine different villages in Nallıhan - a district hosting the Nallıhan Bird Sanctuary and the ancient city of Juliopolis. The number of tourists coming to the district increased from 1,700 to 72,000 as a result of the association’s projects. The Nallıhan Tourism Volunteers Association also reanimated point lace and silk cocoon, types of handcrafts which were already done by the women living in the district. The association has been able to have around 1,000 women participate in the handcraft project. It has both revitalized the district and helped women stand on their own feet.
Bektaş showed what a district can achieve with its own resources. He mobilized a district with development potential with his own dynamics. He pioneered the marketing of the district. Thanks to his efforts, hundreds of people living in the district became better off financially. He made a big difference in his own life, as well as in the lives of people living in the district.
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