There are over 2.5 million refugees in Turkey according to the UN Human Rights Council data. Estimates suggest that approximately 80% of these refugees are settled in urban settings outside of traditional state-run refugee camps and half of the total population is under 17 years old.[i] The January 2016 deal between the European Union and Turkey has changed refugee status in Turkey from temporary guests without any protection or assistance to introducing work permits and school places as well as other assistance. However there are many logistical and cultural constraints to integrating refugee children into mainstream Turkish schools.
Pages Bookstore Café is the first Arabic bookstore in Istanbul. Located in the historical neighborhood of Ayvansaray in Fatih, the bookstore caters to Arab and Syrian people of the city. Spread over three floors, with one floor entirely dedicated to children's books, our store also acts as a library, offering books on loan. It hosts cultural events, readings, discussions, author signings, workshops and performances, the Pages Bookstore. As a second home for Syrians living in Turkey, our bookstore showcases Syrian culture to the rest of the world. It is a place where everyone can meet and interact, find books and ideas of interest, and get a taste of some delectable Syrian food. We welcome everyone to meet us here, at Pages Bookstore Café in Istanbul. We also carry books in Turkish, English and French.
Special thanks to Small Projects Istanbul for their support and collaboration.
Bright Fingers publishing house was founded in 2004 by a group of young people who intended to change the dark image of the child's culture's situation in the Arab world in more than one aspect (style, content, the way of publishing, suitable price and high quality) considering the somewhat difficult life conditions in our Arab world. Our first start in the markets was in 2005. The company had a distinguished presence from its very first moment which kept on growing during every exposition or event dedicated to children. This growth wasn't only in our sales, but also in the development of our methods and acquaintance with the needs of the book, the child, the family and the market. In 2008 we became to be considered one of the best Arab companies to produce and fabricate children's books.
Firstly, the children almost exclusively speak Arabic and some have been out of school for multiple years or never have attended school due to the war in Syria. These children are in need of special intervention and attention as well as help with processing the trauma of war. Secondly, the cultural differences between the Syrian education system and the Turkish system as well as the negative attitude towards Syrian children have deterred parents from sending their children to school. Also the now-fading belief that a return to Syria in the short term will be possible has discouraged families from learning Turkish and integrating further into the established school system. These challenges do not deter parents’ wishes for the future of their children but complicate the implementation. However the desire by the wider community to care and nurture these children have led to many privately-run schools opening to educate Syrian students forced out of school by the war.
We at ORC believe that comfort, compassion and kindness extend from blankets and strollers to helping children learn and grown. War and violence has ripped the Syrian children from their homes and from their schools. It is important that once these children are safe and their basic needs are met, they return to, or even start, their education.
To this end, we are launching our first education-focused project: Project Bright Futures: Libraries
Click here for a more detailed description of Pages Bookshop's unique positioning in Istanbul: Rare Arabic-Language Bookstore Gives Istanbul's Syrian Refugees A Taste Of Home: from the Huffington Post.
Project bright future: libraries
Location: Istanbul, Turkey
Challenge: The January 2016 deal between the EU and Turkey has changed refugee status in Turkey by introducing work permits and school places. However there are many logistical and cultural constraints to integrating refugee children into mainstream Turkish schools including language, war trauma, cultural differences and overall acceptance. Nevertheless, the desire by the wider community to care and nurture these children has led to many privately-run schools opening to educate Syrian students in Turkey. To this end, we are launching our first education-focused project: Project Bright Futures: Libraries.
Purpose: In Istanbul, we are partnering with Pages Bookstore & Café and Bright Fingers Publishing House to buy books to build up the libraries in these new and under-equipped schools in and around Istanbul teaching refugee children. These books will be the foundation for a lifetime of learning and reading when otherwise, only the barebones text books may be available. We will provide bundles of 150 books to schools including 50 books in Arabic, 50 books in Turkish and 50 books in English geared towards children age 6 -14 years old.
Fundraising Goal: USD$21,000 - 30 schools with 150 new books; each book costing an average of $4.60.