Turkey’s Changemakers: The Great Women of a Small City
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 12th Changemaker of the 6th season is Leyla Karabulut.
Karabulut established the Women of Bayburt Aid and Solidarity Association in 2002. As the founder and president of the association, Karabulut focused on projects designed to have a lasting impact on the lives of women and help them participate in social and economic life. She provided various opportunities to women such as workshops on handicrafts, cooking and ceramics as well as traditional clothing production.
Some 500 women have learned a profession and earned an income through the association, which is supported with funds from the European Union, as well as the Program of Social Support. Around 30 women were trained on local food in the Employment Through Local Food Project, six of whom began working in apart-hotels as chefs. Women were given support for various issues in a local women’s center, which was established in the context of Thinking Women, part of the Living Small City Project funded by the European Union. Vocational trainings were provided to women and 30 women were trained on traditional outfit design and handicrafts. In the center, business, management and legal consultancy were provided to women, as well as psychological counseling with the support of the Local Health Authority.
Women who began working in the association established by Karabulut were given the opportunity and succeeding in changing their lifestyles. Karabulut supported social participation of women living in a city where opportunities are limited. She empowered these women. She led tens of women to gain their economic independence. She made a big difference in the lives of women living in Bayburt, as well as in her own life.