Social Responsibility at ITU: ITU Volunteering Club
Dec 05, 2016


Changing the society where we live and even changing our world may not be as difficult as it seems. Bits of help that we offer to those in need, from children to the elderly, has the potential of creating a snowball effect, eventually triggering larger changes. The International Volunteer Day, mandated by the United Nations General Assembly, has been held each year on 5 December since 1985, aiming to promote volunteering activities and organizations all around the world. This special day, which can be viewed as a unique chance to raise social awareness, is celebrated in 123 countries around the world.

International Volunteer Day also aims to expand the social base of volunteering activities and increase the visibility of volunteering projects on different platforms. Each year on 5 December a number of special events are organised to discuss volunteerism, support volunteering work, reach more volunteers, and promote volunteering among the society through non governmental organisations (NGOs). Such events serve a useful purpose of experience and knowledge sharing on how to nurture the notion of social responsibility and actions driven by the intent of generosity and solidarity.
In celebration of 5 December International Volunteer Day, we have summarized the projects of ITU Volunteering Club, which has carried out various volunteering activities at ITU.

Nar Campaign

The project aims to organize extracurricular activities in Sevgi Evleri for children aged 9 to 12 The activities are intended to help children acquire skills that they can use throughout their entire lives. The activities involve raising awareness among children on the rights and duties of children, improving their communication skills, and infusing them with a sense of voluntarism and social responsibility. Organising regular visits to Sevgi Evleri each week, ITU Volunteering Club students carried out activities and workshops designed to enhance the children’s hand-eye coordination as well as their teamwork, design, and production skills. Besides, on a fortnightly basis, they conducted museum and theme park visits and city sightseeing tours.

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“Would you play with me?”

With the project “Would you play with me?”, ITU Volunteering Club members aim to spend time with little children who have had to stay for long in hospitals due to their health problems by playing games with them or organizing activities for them. Within the scope of the project, club members visit four days a week the departments of oncology, surgery, and internal medicine at Cerrahpaşa, Şişli Etfal and Numune hospitals. Also, children are entertained with special events on special days such as 29 October (Independence Day), 23 April (Children’s Day), Mothers’ Day, and Fathers’ Day. Toys donated by other children are collected with the slogan “You have played, and now let others play” and given as presents to children in Istanbul hospitals after being disinfected.

School of Hope

The project aims to help disadvantaged and desourced village schools in various parts of Turkey by providing them with their needs specified by them. On charity trips, conducted three times per year, and 23 April National Sovereignty and Children’s Festival, children in deprived districts are given school materials such as rucksack, books, notebooks, stationary materials, cleaning materials, boots, and coats. Moreover, various activities such as theatre and dance performances and scientific experiments are conducted in these places to motivate the children and instill them with a sense of hope about the future.

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“Gimme your paw”

ITU Volunteering Club does nor neglect our cute friends. The project “Gimme your paw” involves attending to the health and basic needs of animals in ITU campuses and finding them home. Also, various on-campus activities are held with a view to nurturing love of animals among campus members and remembering that they are indispensable parts of our daily lives.

Another Way

“Another Way” project, which Volunteering Club has been involved in for the past ten years, aims to decrease inequality of opportunities in education and support high school students that are not able to receive adequate academic support and guidance during their college preparation period due to financial or psychological reasons. Volunteer students help high school students in need with college preparation exams. Also, students who regularly visit ITU campuses to obtain college preparation support are academically motivated and become a part of campus life. The project is realized without any sponsorship and relies entirely on grants and dedication of ITU students and those from other universities, who spare two hours per week for teaching. These courses present an alternative to the practice of attending private college preparation schools (cram schools), which are seen by many people in Turkish society as an indispensable component of the education system.

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Peaceful moments

Having in mind that we will all be seniors one day, the project Peaceful Moments involves visiting nursing homes to build friendships with seniors, listen to them, and spend good time with them. The project aims to make happier the senior people, who are sadly excluded from many realms of social life and therefore tend to feel lonely. Activities organized in nursing homes by ITU Volunteering Club endow them with a sense of security and strengthen their ties with social world.

One More Step Towards Life

The project aims to minimize the development of juvenile delinquents under arrest or conviction in Ministry of Justice Maltepe Juvenile Detention Centre. Volunteers in this project focus on the strengths of young people and try to make them become aware of their interests and abilities. In this way, it is expected that children and young people will be able to develop themselves and integrate more easily into the society after they get out of the centre. Another aim of the project is to raise awareness on child delinquency in the society and promote building empathy for them.

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Do Not Let Barriers Stop You

The project aims to change and challenge the popular misconceptions on being disabled. Being disabled in Turkish society might mean having to face various prejudices, or people tend to think that disability is something that should be pitied. The project is built on the premise that if no barriers exist for ideas, thoughts, or feelings, then it is not possible to talk about barriers. The idea is to work against marginalization of people with disabilities and spread the idea that they are not different but are waiting to be differentiated.

Living Library

This library, where all books are made up of people, aims to acknowledge differences and come together on a shared platform with different people. Remembering Einstein’s famous quote, “It is harder to crack prejudice than an atom”, it is possible to appreciate the significance of the project carried out by ITU Volunteering Club.

People might have been exposed to various types of discrimination rooted in racism, homophobia, faith-based prejudices, and other types of exclusionary ideologies. ITU Living Library, which has had thirty books and four libraries since 2011, is visited by 1000 readers per year. Visitors seeking to become aware of their taboos or get rid of their prejudices can borrow books for a period of twenty minutes. ITU Volunteering Club members work in the library to perform a variety of duties.

Please visit the website of ITU Volunteering Club or follow them on Facebook page for further information about their activities.