Good deeds across the world rec­og­nized in Benev­o­lence Awards

Daily Sabah (Turkey) - - Na­tional -

The In­ter­na­tional Benev­o­lence Awards of Turkey’s re­li­gious author­ity was handed to re­cip­i­ents rec­og­nized for their in­spir­ing good deeds, from a young man col­lect­ing junk to make pros­thetic limbs for an­i­mals to an Amer­i­can fos­ter fa­ther who cares for ter­mi­nally ill chil­dren

de­scribes the awards as means to spread good­ness and raise aware­ness to prob­lems ad­dressed by the good deeds of re­cip­i­ents.

Speak­ing at the awards cer­e­mony, Ali Er­baş, head of DİB, said they or­ga­nized the awards to raise aware­ness to benev­o­lence “at a time when the world is sur­rounded by evil, wars, poverty and terrorism.” Er­baş said that apart from seven re­cip­i­ents, they awarded Turk­ish army a hon­orary prize “in mem­ory of mar­tyrs died to pro­tect the na­tion and op­pressed peo­ple of the world.”

Hasan Kızıl, a 22-year-old man from Derik, a south­east­ern Turk­ish town, is one of the “benev­o­lent peo­ple” awarded by the pres­i­dency. Kızıl ded­i­cated his life to build­ing pros­thetic legs, hands and arms for an­i­mals for free. An am­a­teur in­ven­tor, he started out by build­ing pros­thetic body parts from junk he col­lected from junk col­lec­tors. The young man de­liv­ered pros­thetic parts, such as two hind legs he made out of shop­ping cart wheels for a cat, for 200 an­i­mals all across Turkey, for free. “It all started af­ter a cat got stuck in the en­gine of my car. Its legs were crushed and there wasn’t a vet­eri­nary clinic avail­able. I de­cided to tear apart wheels of a toy I found at home. I made a wheeled limb for the cat. Later, I im­proved it af­ter learn­ing new tips on how to make pros­thetic limbs on­line. Once the cat re­cov­ered, I de­cided to do build more and not just for cats but all an­i­mals in need,” he has said in an in­ter­view last year. Kızıl now con­tacts an­i­mal rights ac­tivists and of­fer free help to pro­duce pros­thetic limbs.

Sevde Se­van Usak from Is­tan­bul, who set­tled in the Maa­saia re­gion in Tan­za­nia af­ter her mar­riage to a lo­cal there, was rec­og­nized for her con­tri­bu­tion to the ed­u­ca­tion of women and chil­dren in Tan­za­nia. She helped lo­cal women en­gage in agri­cul­ture by help­ing them plant fruit trees and mo­bi­lized Turk­ish char­i­ties to drill wa­ter wells for the poor Maa­sai com­mu­nity.

Yahya Hashemi, who runs a restau­rant in Canada’s Mon­treal, is rec­og­nized for giv­ing free food to the needy with a sign in English and French: “Peo­ple with no money are wel­come to eat for free.” Hashemi soon drew pa­trons who do­nated money for him to of­fer more free meals to the needy.

Kan­ber Bozan, a 49-year-old gro­cer liv­ing in Is­tan­bul’s Üskü­dar dis­trict, is hailed for turn­ing a sec­tion of his store into a li­brary for chil­dren. Bozan of­fers gifts to chil­dren from his store based on the num­ber of books they read and if they give a sum­mary of the book they read to Bozan. Af­ter his story made the head­lines, his store was flooded with books do­nated from all across the coun­try. “I am happy to be awarded. This will help us im­prove our project, to give more books to chil­dren,” he said in an in­ter­view af­ter his name was an­nounced a week ago for awards. “I see chil­dren do not read books as in the past. They are too en­gaged in their smart­phones. I want to en­cour­age them to read more books. Be­sides, this makes their fam­i­lies happy,” he adds.

Mah­mut Kara­man, an aca­demic from the city of Sakarya, is another re­cip­i­ent for driv­ing across Is­tan­bul at night to serve soup to the home­less and mi­grants.

Muham­mad Bzeek, a 62-year-old U.S. cit­i­zen of Libyan ori­gin, is rec­og­nized for only tak­ing in ter­mi­nally ill chil­dren as a fos­ter fa­ther.

Bzeek, who lives in Cal­i­for­nia, has ded­i­cated his life to ter­mi­nally ill chil­dren since 1995. He took in eighty chil­dren and hailed for his work in a fos­ter care sys­tem which does not of­fer ex­tra care for ter­mi­nally ill chil­dren mostly con­fined to hos­pi­tals. Bzeek says he does this “to earn the bless­ing of Al­lah,” as En­sar Al­tay, a Turk­ish film­maker who shot a doc­u­men­tary on him says. “The key is, you have to love them like your own. I know they are sick, I know they are go­ing to die. I do my best as a hu­man be­ing and leave the rest to God,” he said in a re­cent in­ter­view. “I have been asked ‘why do you do this? and an­swer is sim­ple. Even if these chil­dren can­not com­mu­ni­cate or see or hear, they have a soul. They need some­body to love them. I tell them ‘it will be OK, I am here for you. We will go through this to­gether,” he told Peo­ple mag­a­zine in an in­ter­view.

Levent Uçkan, an imam in Is­tan­bul’s Kadıköy dis­trict, is rec­og­nized for help­ing home­less chil­dren and of­fer­ing free meals for stu­dents at the mosque where he works.

Chief of Gen­eral Staff Hu­lusi Akar re­ceived a benev­o­lence award from Pres­i­dent Re­cep Tayyip Er­doğan, a hon­orary prize in mem­ory of mar­tyrs died to pro­tect the na­tion and op­pressed peo­ple of the world. Other re­cip­i­ents (clock­wise from top left) in­clude Kan­ber Bozan, a gro­cer pro­mot­ing a read­ing cam­paign by of­fer­ing free books to chil­dren, Sevde Se­van Usak, rec­og­nized for her aid to a poor com­mu­nity in Tan­za­nia where she lives and Yahya Hashemi, rec­og­nized for giv­ing free food to the needy in his restau­rant in Mon­treal, Canada.

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