Building Bridges
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Building Bridges

BTF Giving Hope to Young Women in Turkey

Bridge to Turkiye Fund (BTF) is excited to share our report summarizing the accomplishments and progress made this school year on the Empowerment Scholarship Program.

BTF Zonguldak Scholars

At the beginning of the 2018–2019 Academic Year, we set a goal to provide scholarships to 1,000 students from underserved regions of Turkey. We knew that this was going to be a monumental task. However, thanks to the generosity of supporters like you, we are happy to report that we have exceeded our goal and provided 1,068 scholarships in the amount of $402,938 funds, bringing our organization’s total impact to 3,515 in nearly 10 years. Compared to the scholarships provided two years ago, we have doubled our impact this year in investing in the future of female college students.

BTF Isparta Scholars

This year, we collaborated with 12 well-respected NGO partners and foundations established by important universities, such as, Middle Eastern Technical University (ODTU), Hacettepe University, Bilkent University, and Bogaziçi University. Our most significant NGO partner is the Association for Supporting Contemporary Life [Çagdas Yasam Destekleme Dernegi (ÇYDD)] that has 103 branch offices throughout Turkey serving the needs of their local communities in the areas of education and health. BTF awarded scholarships to 839 students through 38 ÇYDD branch offices, enabling us to reach out to students from diverse, low-income rural communities, including areas that are predominantly of ethnic minorities.

Thomas Jefferson wrote 100 years ago, ”…that the children of the poor must be thus educated at common expense.” BTF strongly supports this belief and has made its core mission to serve promising students from low-income, rural communities of Turkish Society. These micro-scholarships are instrumental in empowering and opening doors for young women by providing necessary financial support and helping them overcome economic disadvantages.

BTF Edirne Scholars

Each recipient is carefully screened and selected based on their academic performance, economic background as well as those who are most likely to complete their higher education and get into the work force so that they can contribute to the Turkish Society. Financial hardship and distance to schools coupled with lack of dormitories are the most common barriers faced by many of these female students. Young Turkish women, especially those struggling to pay for their education, often drop out of college to earn income for their families. Many of these women also come from large families where they are often competing with their brothers for limited educational funds available from their parents. In some of the Turkish families from rural areas, boys are often given priority over girls in terms of education. Thus, these much-needed annual scholarships provide funding to pay for their tuition, room and board, text books, transportation, and educational supplies. These scholarships ultimately help reduce financial burden for low-income families, college dropout rate, and provide educational opportunities for many young women who might otherwise be forced to leave school because of their inability to fund their education.

A message from a young education major aspiring to be a teacher.

Despite the difficulties they face, these students have high hopes for a better future just as any young girl growing up in developed countries. We are encouraged to hear from many of our scholars who vow to “pay it forward” and provide the same opportunities given to them to others in need in the future.

BTF Kutahya Students

We greatly appreciate your support, generosity, and most importantly, your trust in BTF’s Empowerment Scholarships Program. Through your continued support, these young women will have a chance to live better lives and promote a Turkish society where women have a voice and role in their communities.

We look forward to sharing more exciting news and hope to introduce some of our scholars in our future updates.

Best regards,

BTF Edirne Scholars Applying for Scholarships.

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