Yenilikçi Girişim Derneği (Innovative Initiative Organization)
Mersin is a city with one of the highest immigrant populations from Eastern Turkey and Syria. The employment opportunities and the industrialization rate in the city are restricted. Within the perspective of social, economic and environmental policy development, Yenilikçi Girişim Derneği seeks for methods of empowering people in their own neighbourhood. They work with people who have socio-economic disadvantages, cultural differences and difficulties to access education.
The association makes connections between different educational methods, trainings and workshops with different target groups.
B Arts has been working with communities to develop projects that improve life opportunities for all since 1985. The charity takes a holistic approach developing projects that aim to have a positive impact on many different aspects of people’s lives: mental well-being, education and skills development, employability, advocacy and giving people a voice, and raising aspirations.
The charity engages with the communities through starting conversations and informal meetings. They move on to practical accessible arts workshops in spaces that are familiar to the participants. Among others, the activities include making paper cuts –images that tell stories, puppets and carnival images, writing songs, poetry, baking bread and cooking together.
In Mersin, we met the mayor. We also proposed a 3-day workshop for potential women entrepreneurs in Down Café, a venue conceived for and operated by employees with down syndrome, many of whom joined in with the workshops.
We also organized lantern making workshops with the women from villages, Syrian migrants and Romani people who make arts and crafts to sell them. This was a skill based cultural learning; yet they also exchanged practises and learned from their peers.
We travelled outside Mersin into the mountains to visit smaller towns, which we studied for future projects.