Tarlabaşı Toplum Merkezi: empowering a neighborhood
Tarlabaşı is a neighborhood in central İstanbul that was and is home to people of different ethnicities, including Kurds, Romani people, African immigrants and Syrian refugees. The neighborhood is known to be home to impoverished people and the area was long neglected by successive governments. The district is now going through an urban transformation project that has forced many people out of their homes and the future of the neighborhood is uncertain This issue’s NGO Watch looks at the
(Tarlabaşı Community Center, TTM), an organization from Tarlabaşı that strives to support disadvantaged children and women in this neighborhood. TTM is an independent organization whose purpose is to provide social, psychological and educational support to disadvantaged children, youth and women. It was originally founded by the İstanbul Bilgi University Center for Migration Research in 2006 but now serves as an independent organization. The main focus of the TTM is to empower local residents who are struggling with all kinds of poverty and deprivation and who are alienated from social life. The center not only works to empower people in Tarlabaşı but also targets a decrease in prevalent prejudices others feel towards Tarlabaşı and to raise awareness related to rights and violations of rights by way of the advocacy work it conducts. The center does this by using human rights principles based on social and gender equality and with alternative/creative pedagogical methods. It views all kinds of discrimination, prejudice and violence as the primary targets that need to be combatted. When working for fundamental rights through social service practices, it cooperates with other civil society organizations. The center conducts activities that are based on Tarlabaşı’s needs. Its main activities involve educational and creative arts. In terms of educational support, with the help of volunteer instructors, it offers afterschool tutoring for children, language lessons and special lessons in other fields, such as creative drama. In addition to these educational activities, there are workshops for children. This year, TTM volunteers have led workshops in areas such as sculpture, sewing, recycling, mapping, superheroes, science and everyday life skills. The center also benefits from alternative and creative pedagogic approaches in its activities for children.
All the organization’s projects revolve around the principles of human rights, social and gender equality
The center conducts activities that are based on Tar labaşı’s ned s. Its main activities involve educational and creative arts