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How Did We Get Here

POLEN's story from 2016 to this day

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The seeds of POLEN, which set out with the basic principles of permaculture, "care for the earth, care for people, fair share, donate the surplus of needs and products", were sown by Ms. Şekercioğlu Lesport in Istanbul in January 2016. This was followed by two multilingual and multicultural gatherings with children and their parents in the Yanıklar Village of Fethiye in the summers of 2016 and 2017. The gatherings were followed by a circle meeting at Kokopelli Şehirde, an event at STUDIO-X in Istanbul, and the picnics in Cumhuriyet Köy on a six acre property that was offered to be used by POLEN. During all this time, children were involved in daily life and participated in decision-making processes, have gained gained vital skills besides encountering with art. Solid bonds were formed among the participants.


During the pandemic, POLEN held online art therapy sessions were for children who witnessed trauma in partnership with "Rengarenk Umutlar Association" in Diyarbakır-Suriçi. Thanks to various collaborations, POLEN had the opportunity to reach thousands of children from different walks of life in Istanbul.


On February 6, 2023, an earthquake of 7.8 magnitude struck eleven cities, dozens of towns and villages in Turkey. In the last days of February, Ms. Şekercioğlu Lesport traveled to the region and on March 9, 2023, she volunteered to set up a 'healing' tent for children in a citrus orchard donated by a local family in Gümüşgöze, Defne district of Hatay which was the most devastated among these cities.


The garden was named "Gümüşgöze Children's Home" by two girls from the neighborhood. A large number of instructors, musicians, art therapists, poets, filmmakers, painters, sculptors and permaculture designers from different parts of the world such as Istanbul, Izmir, Urfa, Australia, Lyon were invited to volunteer and met with the children. The garden was the place where POLEN idea literally came to life. POLEN volunteers, who personally witnessed that children were so traumatized that they could not even hold a ball, in the first workshop held at the beginning of March, also witnessed that children gradually remembered that they are 'children' again, as a result of their intense work for months.

Let's hear from Özlem...

Ms. Şekercioğlu Lesport talks about the work of POLEN and Gümüşgöze Children's Home in an interview with Yasemin Mıstıkoğlu for Cadde TV, aired in two parts on July 17th, 2023 episode (00.42.00) and July 22nd, 2023 episode (2:00:00).

Yasemin Mıstıkoğlu continues her interview with Özlem Şekercioğlu Lesport in the Cadde TV Gündem program dated 22.08.2023. You can listen starting from 2:00:00.

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