Turkey’s Changemakers: ‘If I saw and heard, then I am responsible’
According to official records, 2.25 million Syrians who escaped from civil war currently live in Turkey. While some of them are staying in refugee camps, thousands are attempting to continue their life in cities.
Today, there are individuals and organizations that see, hear and feel responsible for the problems of homeless people, refugees and anyone else who needs help. One of these organizations is the Derviş Baba Kahvehanesi (Dervish Father Coffeehouse). The Derviş Baba Kahvehanesi was founded by Musa Dede, Tayyar Baba and Ali Denizci seven years ago.
The whole system of the coffeehouse is based on voluntary participation. In addition to Turkish lessons given to Syrian children, there are English, Spanish, Italian and Russian courses provided to dozens of people. There are also various music classes such as violin, guitar, rhythm, piano, solmization and singing. The courses organized are completely free and all trainers are volunteers.
The Derviş Baba Kahvehanesi provides aid to approximately 2,000 families every month on a regular basis. Every week, they take 200 children to free cultural events. Apart from these activities, volunteers have delivered approximately 700 battery-powered cars to physically handicapped people. All these activities are carried out by a volunteer network reaching 20,000 people.
The Derviş Baba Kahvehanesi has provided succor to the stranded and those in need without discrimination in regard to language, religion or race. The organization has not refused anyone who came to the coffeehouse asking for help. Instead, it has reactivated the value of solidarity, which is fundamental for this country, making a huge difference in both our culture of solidarity and the lives of tens of thousands of people who happen to pass by the coffeehouse.