Izmir Mayor Tunç Soyer and Rector Prof. Murat Aşkar also joined in the team of students of Izmir University of Economics (IUE), who initiated a kindness campaign and carried the “Abla-Ağabey-Kardeş (The Sibling Project)”, which aims to support children living in disadvantaged areas, to online platform. Mayor Soyer and Rector Aşkar, who wanted to give morale to children between 10 and 13 years old and make them feel that they are not alone, sent the short videos they took to the children. The children, who saw Mayor Soyer and Rector Aşkar, were surprised and happy.
30 volunteer students of Izmir University of Economics, who did not want the “Sibling Project”, carried out by Izmir Metropolitan Municipality continuously since 2007, to be interrupted due to the coronavirus, took action to reach out to the children in April. Students, who rolled up their sleeves to continue the project, which is of great importance for the self-improvement of children living in disadvantaged areas and helping them during the education period, decided to meet the children on the online platform.
FOOTBALL PLAYERS OF GÖZTEPE TEAM ALSO JOINED IN
Benefiting from the technological opportunities provided by IUE, young people, who video chatted with children every week, supported them during this time spent at home due to the coronavirus. The kindness campaign initiated by the youth grew rapidly in a short time. Initially, Göztepe team football players Serdar Gürler, Halil Akbunar, Berkan Emir, and Soner Aydoğdu shot 15-second short videos and surprised the children. The kindness campaign, coordinated by Assoc. Prof. Selin Türkel, Head of IUE Department of Public Relations and Advertising, which was extending from campus to green fields, did not stop at this.
WE LEARN FROM CHALLENGES
Izmir Metropolitan Mayor Tunç Soyer and Rector Prof. Murat Aşkar shot special videos by calling the children by names one by one, emphasizing that they were always there to support them. Listening to the messages of Mayor Soyer and Rector Aşkar, children experienced great happiness thanks to the IUE students. Noting the importance of the project, Mayor Tunç Soyer said in his message, “You have been welcoming Izmir Metropolitan Municipality in your homes with the 'Sibling Project', which has been running for many years continuously. We had a mandatory break from face to face meetings due to the pandemic. However, we carried our project to the online environment with the contributions of UNICEF and Izmir University of Economics and continued these beautiful meetings. We continued our way by learning from difficulties and keeping in mind that children and young people are our future. Dear children, you played various games with your big sisters and brothers. You watched videos with them. You learned about professions you didn't know. Maybe you couldn't have breakfast together, you couldn't study at the desk, but you continued to learn new things by keeping together.”
HARDLY CAN WAIT FOR NEW PROJECTS
Mayor Soyer continued his speech as: “Hundreds of volunteer young brothers, even the epidemic affecting the world, did not stop us. The hard work, the effort you put in this project and other projects of our municipality are above all appreciations. During this period, we did not stay idle, we studied our lesson. Now it's time to keep on walking together by developing completely different projects. The Historic Havagazı Campus, which we opened to realize these projects, is waiting for you impatiently. Hundreds, thousands of youth will come together and open new horizons for Turkey and Izmir. I would like to thank everyone who contributed to this project. I want you to know that I look forward to new projects that we will produce together.”
WE DID NOT WANT THIS PROJECT TO BE HINDERED
Stating that they are happy to be part of the 'Sibling Project' as a university, IUE Rector Prof. Aşkar said, “Our life in the pandemic period has been very different from the past. You couldn't go to your schools; you couldn't spend time with your friends and relatives. Our university also started distance education on March 23. Within a short time, we started to conduct our lessons live on the campus via the online education platform Blackboard. When we saw that our system was working well and efficiently, we decided to move the 'Sibling Project’ to Blackboard. As a university, we did not want the project to be delayed more due to the pandemic.”
SELF SACRIFICING WORK
Rector Prof. Aşkar stated the following: “With this platform where you can audio and video chat and share files with each other, we wanted you to keep in touch, even if not face to face, during the pandemic period, and not to be deprived of Saturday conversations and shares. I hope that coming together with older brothers and sisters during this period made you happy. Every week, they prepared content that you will like. They chatted with you and played games. I congratulate our students for their sensitivity and devoted work.”
I WILL CONTINUE WITH SOCIAL PROJECTS
Ayyüce Koç, one of the volunteer students from IUE Department of Public Relations and Advertising said, “Our academics encourage and guide us to take part in social projects. They emphasize that participating in social projects as well as academic knowledge is part of personal development. I wanted to do something for the children in this difficult time we were in due to the pandemic. We had a pleasant and enjoyable time with the children during online meetings. It was very good for me, too. I will continue to be involved in volunteering activities after the pandemic”.