Building Bridges
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Building Bridges

YOUR SUPPORT MATTERS TO YOUNG WOMEN IN TURKEY!

Bridge to Turkiye Fund (BTF) is happy to report on its Empowerment Scholarships Program as we continue to introduce our inspiring scholars who are full of hope and ambition for a brighter future.

This has been quite a year for our Empowerment Scholarships Program and we couldn’t have done it without the continued support of our generous donors.

BTF Edirne Scholars During an Event

We are pleased to report that, during the 2019–2020 Academic Year, we provided scholarships to 1,062 students from underserved regions of Turkey — totaling our impact to 4,600 students supported in over a decade with $2.1M in total investment funds in the form of educational scholarships.

“BTF has supported hundreds of projects in Turkey via investment grants totaling over $4.5M all benefiting underserved children in Turkey.”

BTF Scholars in Edirne

One of BTF’s core values is to continue to do its part in investing in the future of female college students to help bridge the gender gap in equality in all aspects of their lives in Turkey. This year, we collaborated with 17 well-respected NGO partners and university foundations, one of which is our most significant partner: The Association for Supporting Contemporary Life or, in Turkish, Çağdaş Yaşamı Destekleme Derneği (ÇYDD). This organization has 103 branch offices spread throughout Turkey serving the needs of their local communities in the areas of education and health. Due to economic uncertainties in recent years, ÇYDD has received more than 21,000 applications for scholarships. Unfortunately, only 25 percent of these applicants received scholarships.

BTF awarded scholarships to 790 students through 38 ÇYDD branch offices, enabling us to reach out to students from diverse, low-income rural communities and those areas that are predominantly made up of ethnic minorities.

BTF believes in the power of investing in education and building futures for underserved women and girls in Turkey.”

BTF Edirne Scholars

One of the ÇYDD branch offices we support is in Edirne located in the western Turkey. Through the Edirne branch, we support 25 female university students majoring in education, law, medicine, and historically underrepresented STEM disciplines. Below is a letter we like to share from one of our scholars aspiring to be a successful nurse studying at Trakya University:

“Dear BTF Family,

My name is Özge. I am a senior year nursing student at the University of Trakya. Originally from Istanbul, I have been part of the Edirne ÇYDD family for the past three years and have had the privilege to receive BTF scholarships for the past two years. Unfortunately, my father is a man who does not see the value in educating girls. He is completely against the idea of sending his daughters to study at a school away from our hometown. I was able to get accepted into my college by studying secretly at night using my phone light and with the help of my mother who earned money from making handicrafts. Before I turned 18 years, I went against my father’s wishes and applied for a college. It is when I felt completely alone and helpless that I applied for a scholarship from ÇYDD Edirne branch, which came through for me. Since then, this organization has become my family and an important part of my life. I participated in all activities and projects organized by this branch. I participated in leadership and volunteer roles in various projects. Thanks to this institution, which filled my spiritual side, I was able to receive a scholarship in my second year of studies. With the encouragement I received from ÇYDD Edirne community and leaders, I have been volunteering to serve as the Red Crescent Community Chair for two years at my university. In my role, I have started to do all that I can do to improve people’s lives and take part in social responsibility projects in our local community. I try to be an active and social person throughout my university life without impacting my studies.

Next, I would like to share my dreams and aspirations in my academic life. I have always made it a goal of mine to have a successful academic performance since my freshman year and believe in the philosophy of life-long learning. Upon graduation, I intend to get a master’s degree, hopefully at a college outside of my country. Then, I wish to continue my academic career by getting a Ph.D. in my program. Although it was my dream to attend the Erasmus Plus summer internship project to improve my English and gain study abroad experience, I didn’t get accepted. Due to my family’s economic hardship, I could not participate in the Work & Travel or the Isaac Program. I am still hopeful that I can get accepted into a project within the scope of European Volunteer Service in the coming years.

I am grateful to my BTF family for touching my life through their support and contributions. I hope we can have a chance to meet someday.”

These scholarships make a tremendous difference by allowing these students like Özge to explore their passions to the fullest and take advantage of the opportunities that will jump start their future careers and improve their lives.

Once again, we thank our donors for their support, generosity, and most importantly, for believing in the advancement of women and helping change the world, one educated girl at a time!

Best Regards,

For more information about the BTF’s Empowerment Scholarships Program, please visit: https://www.bridgetoturkiye.org/light-the-path/

Bridge to Türkiye Fund is a charitable 501(c)(3) non-profit organization with IRS Tax ID of 58–2678580. 100 Fox Briar Lane, Cary, NC 27518

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