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Gümüşgöze Children's Home

After the February 6 earthquake, a "yurt" was set up in the citrus garden that was offered by the Karaali family for our with children. Here we share few moments from the journey that started in March and continues to this day at Gümüşgöze Children's Home, which was named by Öykü and Cansu from the neighborhood.

Letter to Parents

Dear Mothers and Fathers,

Our volunteer efforts are made possible by the funding and moral support from many people who believed in me/us to make this journey possible. Although incompariable with what you have been through, us who come from far to stand in solidarity with you, have also been effected by this disaster.

Along the way, this interaction invited us to question the quality of  work carried out with children in trauma regions. Because of the various thresholds we experienced, we had to share with you who we are, what we do and what we are not doing and why. And why it is that we do what we do as well as the reasons to them. 

 

First of all, Gümüşgöze Children's Home is not a legal institution, a company or an association. It is merely an initiative, an organized group of volunteers. 

 

Between our first workshop of March 11 until April 23rd, we shared our resources - to the extent we could - with those affected by the earthquake all over the region. However, after that date, we decided not to distribute any materials to the children except for basic needs like water and clothing (water, slippers, hats)  because we realized that children were starting to get accustomed to a culture of charity and asking questions like "what are you handing out here today?".  We came to the conclusion that getting used to receiving things "out of the blue" without doing anything would do more harm than any good to the children in the long-term. Every initiative, institution or association has a "purpose". Donated materials, if any, can of course be distributed through other nongovernmental whose job is in fact to do this. But the purpose of Gümüşgöze Children's Home was not to distribute aid to children. This tent was put up to allow children to grieve together, heal their traumas, play together, to "remember that they are children" and to express themselves. Our efforts and initiatives are focused on this purpose and we continue to work towards and keep in mind the rights and dignity of the children in every single activity, video/audio recordings, along with their physical safety. 

 

As of June, we started to expand the spaces and content where children's voices will be heard more and more. To conclude, I would like to emphasize again that this garden and everything that happens in it is a story of solidarity.

 

Always with love and affection,

Özlem Şekercioğlu Lesport

on behalf of POLEN Collective

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