The Hayata Sarıl Association is a social enterprise that was launched with a vision to get homeless people living on the streets and people snubbed by society to embrace life again. The proceeds from Hayata Sarıl Lokantası (Embrace Life Restaurant) operating under the association are used to provide vocational trainings and psychological support to people who are homeless and snubbed by society. The restaurant also serves dinner free-of-charge to homeless individuals.
Emre Alettin Keskin
Hayal Gücü Merkezi (Imagination Centre)
Hayal Gücü Merkezi is a social enterprise that designs curiosity-oriented systems, experiences and learning taking into account the individual differences of children, adults and communities to enable them to fulfil their potential. Hayal Gücü Merkezi’s trainings are based on an ‘Ask, Discover, Produce’ system. This system is centred around things that children are curious about and interested in as well as their ‘can do’ skills. The system enables experiences, teaching, learning, schools and institutions to be structured and applied in a children-oriented manner.
Mehmet Furkan Polat
Mektepp is a free digital platform for teachers to share learner-oriented classroom activities. Mektepp offers an easy-to-use and trackable format for teachers to easily share their authentic classroom practices with other teachers, thereby contributing to mainstreaming practices that improve the quality of learning environments. Mektepp aims to offer this digital sharing experience in physical environments as well. To this end, it organises teacher get-togethers each month with a different theme.
Kadın Ustalar (Handywomen)
Due to gender stereotypes in Turkey, women cannot be employed in jobs like car mechanic or motorcycle courier jobs, which are typically considered to be ‘male jobs’. To find a solution to this social issue, Türkiye’nin Kadın Ustaları (Turkey’s Handywomen) now enables women to be employed in 30 different fields after they receive vocational training. Under the protocol with the Ministry of Education, Türkiye’nin Kadın Ustaları aims to deliver vocational trainings to 5,000 women in 76 cities in the coming period.
Anlatan Eller (Narrative Hands)
In Turkey, due to language barriers around three million hearing-impaired and deaf individuals are unable to receive the education they need and therefore get employed. As people with disabilities become estranged from work life and society they virtually become invisible. Anlatan Eller was established in 2016 with a view to finding a solution to the inequalities in education that hearing-impaired and deaf individuals face by delivering Turkish sign language assisted trainings. Anlatan Eller offers training courses to hearing-impaired and deaf individuals to prepare them for central examinations, primarily Accessible KPSS (Civil Servant Exam), thus helping them to increase their success rates. Anlatan Eller started off with maths courses for Accessible KPSS, using social media channels to access hearing-impaired and deaf individuals all over Turkey and share course videos. To date, Anlatan Eller has published 74 videos that have reached around 120,000 views. As a result of Anlatan Eller’s trainings, individual success rates have gone up by 56% at the high school level and 45% at the university level. Through these trainings Anlatan Eller aims not only to increase success rates but also ensure that hearing-impaired and deaf individuals are equipped with analytical thinking skills and believe in themselves and their dreams.
Shortlisted Advanced Stage Applicants
e-Bursum (My e-Scholarship)
Of the 25 million students going to school in Turkey, 60% are in a continuous search for financial support to continue their studies. Moreover, while there are several individuals and organisations that grant scholarships the amounts tend to be insufficient and the application process is considered to be gruelling. Created to minimise inequalities of educational opportunity, e-Bursum has digitalised the scholarship system in Turkey to both facilitate access to financial resources that students need for their education and provide a more systematic and democratic scholarship process for sponsors who grant scholarships. Integrated with the e-Turkey platform, the online system uses an algorithm to match individuals and organisations that give scholarships with students to offer support for their education. Launched three years ago, e-Bursum also offers online financial literacy and mentoring services to scholarship students. Going forward, e-Bursum aims to reach six million students and roll this model out internationally.
Kodluyoruz (We’re Coding)
Kodluyoruz is a social enterprise that aims to gear up Turkey’s youth for the future of the tech industry and turn Turkey into a technology hub in its region. Bringing together experts and volunteers in the IT industry, Kodluyoruz identifies the industry’s needs and works to close the talent gap in the tech industry and find a solution to youth unemployment through its open training resources, events and boot camps. At the same time, it delivers visibility and training programmes dedicated to women software developers to increase their representation rate.
Shortlisted Cooperation Applicants
Dijital Topuklar (Digital Heels)
BlogcuAnne.com (Blogger Mum) founder Elif Doğan and Uykusuz Anneler Kulübü (Sleepless Mums Club) (UykusuzAnneler.com) founder Perihan Gürer joined forces to create Dijital Topuklar, a digital platform for women. By providing digital content and organising summits, the platform empowers women to find the strength to act. All of the activities aim to help women to realise their inner strength and take action to make their dreams come true. Dijital Topuklar also aims to overcome the cultural barriers that women face.
Çimenev Science and Art Centre & MEF University IDP Society
The Çimenev Science and Art Centre and MEF University’s IDP Society support disadvantaged children through academic and social activities so that they can continue their education. As part of this cooperation, Çimenev and MEF’s IDP Society offer technology literacy, coding and robotics workshops to disadvantaged children living in the Harbiye and Elmadağ districts to make technology accessible to children from all walks of life. At the same time, literacy courses for mothers aim to enable parents to support their children’s education and earn money by printing the products they design with 3D printers.
Türkiye’nin Kadın Balıkçıları (Turkey’s Fisherwomen)
Fishery is considered to be a male profession. However, women work just as much as men in family-run businesses that dominate this industry. In the fishery industry, when looked at from a gender perspective official records and labour force participation are in favour of men. Therefore, the efforts of women are literally invisible and women are unable to take part in professional organisations. Consequently, a structure that empowers women socially and economically is absent. Setting off from this social issue, Türkiye’nin Kadın Balıkçıları is working together with Sür-Koop (Aquaculture Cooperative), an all-men organisation, on the visibility of fisherwomen and their professional rights. As a result of this cooperation, under the umbrella of Sür-Koop which has 30,000 partners, a Fisherwomen’s Committee was established for the first time ever, giving fisherwomen the opportunity to get organised and act together. Through advocacy, the Fisherwomen’s Committee works to change the system and make fisherwomen visible in policy decisions. At the same time, it also offers intensive courses to young fisherwomen and children to develop their leadership competencies. The ultimate aim of this cooperation is to turn the fishery industry into a fully inclusive one where women and men have equal presence and rights.
Board Member, Ashoka Turkey
Altop earned her degree in international relations and development economics from Johns Hopkins University and her master’s degree from Carnegie Mellon University. Altop worked in various companies in the USA, including the World Bank, Electronic Data Systems, IBM Credit Cooperation, Shared Medical Services, MCI and Lockheed Martin Mission Systems. After returning to Turkey, she worked as the founding partner and Secretary General of Endevaor Turkey. Altop is also a Board Member of Ashoka Turkey.
Dorman earned her bachelor’s degree in industrial engineering from Boğaziçi University, master’s degree in industrial engineering from the University of California, Berkeley, and MBA from Harvard Business School. She previously worked in McKinsey, Morgan Stanley, Orange, France Telecom and Acıbadem Healthcare Group. Currently she is the CEO and Board Member of MV Holding and also serves as the Chairwoman of StartersHub and Board Member of KVK, Cardtek, and The LifeCo. Dorman is also a Board Member of the Mind Your Waste Foundation, Endeavor Turkey, and Women on Board Association.
General Manager, Vehbi Koç Foundation
Yıldırım obtained his degree in mechanical engineering from Boğaziçi University and master’s degree from the Center on Philantrophy at Indiana University. From 1991 to 1997, he worked as the Secretary General of the Boğaziçi University Alumni Association. In 1997, he was appointed as General Manager to the Vehbi Koç Foundation and continues to work in this role. Sitting on the boards of all Vehbi Koç Foundation affiliates, Yıldırım continues to serve on a volunteer basis on the board of trustees and/or board of members of TEGV, TEMA, Boğaziçi University Foundation, TÜSEV and Suna & Inan Kıraç Foundation.
İ. Renay Onur
Founder, Adım Adım (Step by Step), Açık Açık (Openly)
Onur is one of the founders of Adım Adım, the first charity run in Turkey aiming to raise funds for civil society through sports. Since its launch, Onur has provided fund raising coaching to 40 NGOs and more than 45,000 volunteers through the charity run, while creating the first and only online fund raising platform that serves over one thousand NGOs for the charity run. Onur is an Ashoka Fellow and one of the founders of the Açık Açık Association that brings together donors as well as transparent and accountable associations in Turkey.
Director, Ashoka Europe
Rainer Höll holds a master’s degree in public administration from Harvard University and currently works as the Director of Fellow Selection at Ashoka Europe. Höll is also one of the country representatives of Ashoka Germany. He supported the Ashoka Fellow Selection Process for more than five years and served as a jury chair for numerous international social entrepreneurship competitions. In the past, Rainer Höll managed Ashoka’s partnerships with Google, Accenture and DLD.
Founder, TABIT (Agricultural Information and Communication Technologies)
Tülin Akın, launched tarimsalpazarlama.com, Turkey’s first communication and e-learning network and e-commerce media in agriculture, in 2004 when she was a student. Akın created the Farmer’s Club (Çiftçi Kulübü) which provides information and services to 1.4 million farmers and their families and launched the early warning system in agriculture. She also carried out various social responsibility projects to raise water awareness and prevent tractor accidents in rural areas. Akın is an Ashoka Fellow and was nominated for the Nobel Prize in 2014 by the UN.
Yonca Dervişoğlu Brunini
Vice President, Marketing, EMEA, Google
Dervişoğlu holds a bachelor’s degree in business administration from Istanbul University and master’s degree in international business from Ohio State University, USA. She started her career at Unilever and then, in 2002, she worked at Yahoo as the Marketing Director for Europe and the UK. In 2006, she joined Google and currently works as the Vice President of Marketing for the Europe, Middle East and Africa region. Dervişoğlu was listed in Fortune Turkey’s Top 10 Global Women Leaders.
Zeynep Bodur Okyay
Chairman & CEO, Kale Group
Zeynep Bodur Okyay, earned her bachelor’s degree in management engineering from Istanbul University and master’s degree in management from Harvard University. In 1995, Okyay was appointed as Executive Board Member and Chairman of Kale Group’s marketing companies. Since 2007, she has been serving as Kale Group’s Chairman and CEO. Okyay’s other active roles include: President, General Assembly, Istanbul Chamber of Industry (ISO); Vice Chairman, Economic Development Foundation (IKV); Board Member, Foreign Economic Relations Board (DEIK); Coordinating Chair, Turkey-EU Business Councils, DEIK; Chair, Turkey-Italy Business Council, DEIK; Member, Turkish Business and Industry Association (TUSIAD). In 2015, Okyay chaired the C20 (Civil 20) Steering Committee during Turkey’s G20 Presidency.
Country Director, Ashoka Turkey
In 2006, Zeynep Meydanoğlu graduated from the Department of Policy and Cultural Studies at McGill University and then started her graduate studies on human rights law at Bilgi University. For six years, Meydanoğlu worked as Programme Director at the Turkish Third Sector Foundation. Since 2012, she has been working as the Country Manager of Ashoka Turkey. Providing volunteer support to the establishment of a number of NGOs such as KAMER (Women’s Centre) and Mor Çatı (Purple Roof), Meydanoğlu is also a member of the Foundation for Civil Society Support.