Empowering a brighter future one girl at a time…
Defne, a 19 year old from a village in Samsun - Turkey, is a sophomore at Eskişehir Osman Gazi University Faculty of Medicine. She pays 209TL per month to stay at a dorm. Her two sisters are also attending college away from their villages. “My father is a retired blue-collar worker and my mother cannot work due to kidney disease”, she wrote on her application and later added that BTF Empowerment Scholarship made a big difference. “I want to become a successful doctor. I am at a different place in my life, engaging with different people from different walks of life. The scholarship has been a major contribution to my social and academic development.”
On the International Day of the Girl Child, Make a Difference: Join our empowerment family today.
The UN has dedicated October 11 as the International Day of the Girl Child to shine a light on the issues concerning gender inequality around the world. We wanted to take this opportunity to remind you of the important work Bridge to Türkiye Fund (BTF) is doing to address gender inequality and advancing rights and opportunities for young women and girls in Turkey. We need your continued support to reach out to more underprivileged young women and help them realize their dreams.
Education is essential for empowerment. The consequences of girls not finishing school are extremely profound; the longer they stay in school, the more their health and life expectancy improves.
Empowered, educated, healthy, and safe adolescent girls possess a better complement of tools to make the transition into adulthood and engage productively in the economy as adults. And yet, global attrition rates are extremely high. Over 62 million girls around the world are not in school, and half of them are adolescents. Investing in adolescent girls, particularly through education, benefits not only girls and their families, but entire communities and economies.
What is the reality like for a rural girl living in Turkey, along with two or three other siblings born into an uneducated family ? Do they go to school? Do they get the education privilege or priority over boys?
BTF’s Girls’ Empowerment Scholarships Program focuses on educating girls because cycles of poverty and illiteracy can be broken in just one generation. These scholarships can make a substantial difference in encouraging families to send and keep their daughters in school. This academic year alone, BTF directly is supporting 350 students through scholarships promoting literacy with a special focus on disadvantaged girls who are not encouraged to go to school. Thanks to generous donations from supporters like you, these young women are staying in school, graduating, and becoming productive members of their communities. Our scholarship recipients have gone into fields of law, education, healthcare, science and business.
According to the UNESCO ISCED data — 2 out of every 10 girls don’t have any schooling, or complete primary school. And another 3 or 4 complete primary level education which gets them to ages 12 or 13 the most.
What happens to these girls afterwards? Even with good intentions, most become forced to marry and become child brides between the ages of 13–18. Most against their will, as the families have no means to afford this extra “headcount” to continue education. In fact, you might well inquire if they ever dream about going to school?
These stats are heart wrenching facts of Turkish society especially living in the rural areas. Compared to Canada or US, where higher education attainment is the highest, Turkey’s education gap is much more severe and significant.
More than half the females have a college degree in Canada, and similarly close to 40% of the girls in US have a higher education degree (including tertiary/community college degree).
In Turkey, only 1 out of 10 women has a college degree. We, at Bridge to Turkiye Fund (BTF), would like to overwrite this table badly but the facts would remain. This gap is the main barrier of a developing nation trying to advance in many fronts politically, socially, culturally.
As Bridge to Turkiye Fund, volunteers, and community leaders we take this opportunity gap as a mission, and work to provide financial and social support to many underprivileged girls around the clock.
Started in 2004 with just 4 girls, BTF supported a total of 1,172 girls in empowerment scholarships in the last 10+ years. We provide micro-scholarships for their education, remove the burden on their families easing affordability.
There is a significant body of research showing how gender equality, women’s rights and women’s empowerment can have a catalytic effect on the achievement of sustained peace, development, human rights.
According to the United Nations Girls’ Education Initiative, while Turkey has made significant progress in reducing the number of out-of-school girls in the past few years, large numbers continue to dropout in high school. For many of these girls, education ends prematurely due to poverty. Therefore, these scholarships are vital to keeping girls in school.
While we can’t fulfill all the population education gap, we can grow every year by improving our reach, increasing our united voice for action among our friends & communities to further invest in this cause.
And since 2003 we have bridged $ 2.1 million in funds through BTF4Kids Projects all with your help and trust…We are truly thankful for all our donors in supporting girls education. In addition to scholarships our most recents projects include lending a hand through education to the children who lost their fathers in Soma Mining tragedy, or refugee children in Turkey who are facing a big risk of becoming a lost generation.
There are many ways to reach out and give back and there are so many eligible bright children who want to continue their education, but unfortunately they are denied this opportunity due to limited support and scholarship funds.
With your support, there are no limits to what we can achieve together to promote gender equality and educating girls. As we expand our program to support more girls in 2017, we will need your help more than ever. There is no better time than now to lend your support.
In an interview with Hürriyet, Dr. Aziz Sancar, the Nobel Prize recipient in Chemistry and BTF’s Advisory Board Member, emphasized the importance of educating girls in southern and southeastern Turkey. He further stated that we need to promote girls getting into the fields of science, technology, engineering and math (STEM). If not, we will lose half of our human capital. He spoke out directly to the people from his birthplace in southeastern Turkey, and asked them to send their girls to school. Dr. Sancar is the first Turkish-American scientist to win this prestigious prize. We hope that the scholarships and financial aid we provide these girls will help educate more future Nobel Prize winners in the STEM fields.
If you have an opportunity to give back, please consider “empowering a girl”. She will forever be grateful for this gift and be able to achieve her dreams against all odds. That girl will soon become a teacher, a doctor, scientist or an engineer. She will multiply her investment and pay back in a big way.
EQUALITY IS THE SOUL OF LIBERTY…One empowered girl at a time, one scholarship at a time, together with your help, we must be the change we wish to see in Turkiye and in the world…Light the path to education one girl at a time… Because a candle looses nothing by lighting another one…
Make an impact! DONATE NOW! $50/Month Provides a Full Year University Scholarship for ONE Student.