Recreating Lives in Muş

Meryem was only 14 years old when she got married to a man she barely knew. In a year, she had her first baby who was born physically and mentally disabled. Her second child was born a year after that. Throughout her marriage, her husband physically abused her and their children. It took her five years to get a divorce and start a new life on her own.

Zehra was 15 while her husband was 53 when their families arranged their marriage. She didn’t know that she had a right to say no to her family or to her husband who continuously harassed her for 29 years. She didn’t think of leaving him because in her town, getting a divorce is frowned upon. She accepted the decisions made for her by others until her husband died.

Özlem was only 16 when her own family killed her. It all started when she was 15, the day she was forced to marry a man whom she wasn’t in love with. She ran away to another town, to a women’s shelter. But her family tracked her down and did what they think was necessary in the name of their family’s ‘honor’. Due to insufficient evidence, no one was charged guilty in Özlem’s case.

Nurcan, a young woman in her 30s, was threatened and beaten up by two men who broke into her house in Muş, Turkey. Because she was the one who encouraged Meryem to get a divorce. Because she gives a voice to women who are not able to speak up. Because she is fighting to end violence against women so that they won’t have the fate of Ozlem and Zehra. Because she is teaching women their rights all over Turkey. Because she founded a nonprofit organization, Muş Women’s Roof Association (MWRA), our newest partner, 11 years ago with a mission to change the lives of many young women living in Turkey.

Since establishing MWRA, Nurcan and her team are traveling all over Turkey and visiting families living in small towns who don’t want their daughters to get an education. After 50 house visits, they managed to convince 39 families. Thanks to them, 39 young women are able to go to school and excel in life. In addition to house visits, MWRA also organizes educational seminars to raise awareness on health issues of child marriage, women rights and violence against women. So far, they reached out to over 7,000 girls, 4,000 families and 1500 public officials. Their efforts definitely contributed to the decrease in child marriage rates in the last 5 years from 85 percent to 65 percent in Muş.

Their newest project is as inspiring as their previous ones. With a mission to educate men about women rights, they are organizing a 10-week workshop only for public officials and NGO employees. The program will have a ripple effect since the participants are working in crucial areas to end violence against women, MWRA aims to reach out to more than 300 men by educating only 10 people. Take a look at MWRA to support gender equality. Your contribution can make a change in lives of many young women.


For safety reasons, the real name of the women in this narrative have been changed.

The Sena Eken Schieber Economics Award


New York, NY (October 12, 2016) – Turkish Philanthropy Funds is very pleased to announce the opening of the application process for the Sena Eken Schieber Economic Awards for the 2017-18 school year. Since its inception in 2015, this scholarship fund has provided scholarships to in need female graduate students from Turkey with scholarships to support their graduate studies in the field of Economics in the United States.

The Sena Eken Schieber Economics Award is offered to female Turkish students who are accepted to an accredited graduate school in the United States to pursue Master’s or PhD degrees in economics. Every year, several awards are granted up to $25,000 each to cover tuition and/or living expenses.

“We are so excited and proud to be able to assist George Schieber in his dream of providing scholarship opportunities to bright and young women from Turkey in the memory of his late wife, Sena, ” said Ilhan Akbil, President & CEO of Turkish Philanthropy Funds.Applications will be accepted through March 7, 2017. Winners will be announced later in the Spring.

Click to learn more about the scholarship requirements and deadlines.


The Sena Eken Schieber Ekonomi Ödülü

New York, NY (12 Ekim 2016) – Turkish Philanthropy Funds, Sena Eken Schieber Ekonomi Ödülü 2017-2018 akademik yılı için başvuru sürecinin açıldığını heyecanla bildirmekten gurur duyar. Ödül, Amerika’da eğitimine ekonomi alanında devam etmek isteyen genç kadınlara 2015 yılından beri burs vermektedir.

Sena Eken Schieber Ekonomi Ödülü, Amerika’da ki akredite üniversitelerde yüksek lisans eğitimine devam etmek isteyen tüm genç kadınlara açıktır. Öğrencilere bu bursla; okul ücreti ve yaşam masrafları da dahil olmak üzere çeşitli ihtiyaçlarını karşılamak amaçlı $25,000’a varan bir miktarda fon sağlanacaktır.

Turkish Philanthropy Funds’in CEO ve Başkanı Ilhan Akbil, George Schieber’ın eşi, Sena’nın anısına, Türkiye’deki başarılı genç kadınlara eğitimde fırsat eşitliği tanıma amacıyla kurduğu bu bursun TPF aracılığıyla gerçekleşmesinden gurur duyduğunu belirtti.

Burs için son başvuru tarihi 7 Mart 2017’dir. Kazananların listesi Bahar döneminde açıklanacaktır.

Daha fazla bilgi ve detay icin lütfen tıklayınız.


Join us for a 10K Color Run

rsz_shutterstock_249233002It’s that time of the year again, Team TPF is running a 10K. Meet us on Saturday, October 30th at Governors Island to raise awareness of our mission and change the way world feels about giving.

Register for Color Run here. Then, start your fundraiser to help us reach our goal.

Can’t make it? Be a cheerleader and support us by donating.

Our Chairman and Vice-Chairman will match all donations 1:1 up to $20,000.

Supporting Turkey

Color Run is a fundraiser supporting Color Turkey campaign created by Turkish Philanthropy Funds, a community foundation dedicated to improving civil society in Turkey. Color Turkey Campaign aims to actively make a difference in: Gender Equality, Children Rights, Youth Empowerment, Environment, Education, Disaster Relief, Literacy, Equality, Violence Against Women, Health and Community Philanthropy.

Join our efforts to overpower challenges with colors and be a part of impact in Turkey.

Equal Yet Different

Equal Yet DifferentCelal was 11 months old when he caught polio, an infectious disease, which causes muscle weakness resulting in inability to move. While there are common vaccines used as a precaution against polio, it was 1980 when Celal suffered from the illness. Since Turkey was under the rule of coup at that moment, Celal’s family couldn’t get Celal to have polio vaccine when he was born. Celal went through 13 serious surgeries until he started junior high. However, he never let his health hold him back in life. He continued his education and enjoyed sports just as any other young boy, only with the addition of a wheelchair. But sadly, as he grew up he came to realize that the system and society do not embrace disabled people. He still remembers how his parents fought with his high school officials to move his classroom to entry level. No matter how many times they requested, Celal’s classroom stayed on the 3rd floor until he graduated. Or how he could play soccer only as a goalkeeper because of his reluctant teammates, even though he had the talent to rock as a striker.

Celal started to take on new challenges as he grew up. Famous for his fairness and honesty, Celal became indispensable for soccer teams in his neighborhood as their most trusted referee. Soon, he started to coach one of the local teams. This made him feel accepted by the society but didn’t satisfy him because he wasn’t active in the field. So he turned his attention towards basketball and happily discovered that “basketball wheelchairs” really do exist. Motivated by such equipment, Celal started to train around the clock. Even though he broke his shinbone, he didn’t give up and made it to men’s national wheelchair basketball team despite his family’s concerns. He traveled the world through tournaments and discovered that other national teams have more modern and customizable wheelchairs, which improves the performance of players. At the tournaments, Turkish team lost to all of their opponents with huge score differences. That’s when he understood that his team would never be good as others because of limited resources, few trainers and poor equipment provided to them. Celal experienced the same struggle when he played table tennis internationally a few years later.

In 2004, he decided give up on his active sports career to establish his own sports club to train children in European the standards. At the age of 25, he founded his foundation, Youth with Disabilities Sports Club, our newest partner, which offers a comprehensive support program including sports activities, socializing opportunities, career guidance for both disabled and non-disabled youth. As he worked tirelessly to create a unique space where everyone can be equal yet different, Celal faced many obstacles. Their first club was located at the basement of a residential building in Adana because he didn’t have enough financial means to get a bigger and proper space. They trained 25 disabled young people in 300 square meters for years. After many meetings with public authorities and hunger strikes, Youth with Disabilities Sports Club moved to 8 acres land to continue its activities.

Today, all children regardless of their background, gender and physical status are welcomed at Youth with Disabilities Sports Club. Both disabled and non-disabled children train for all kinds of sports. They also participate at math, guitar and many other workshops and learn to live together equally. What’s next? Establishing new sport clubs in other cities and reaching out to a broader audience with a mission to get acceptance and respect for disabled youth in our society. Take a look at their project to support them reach out to thousands of children.

Youth Without Borders

Youth Without BordersMeet Buse, a 22-year-old young woman who was diagnosed with Cerebral Palsy (CP) when she was a child. In case you’re not familiar with the term, cerebral palsy is a permanent movement disorder, which causes poor coordination, stiff muscles; and sensation, vision, hearing and speaking problems. One out of three people with CP also have learning difficulty. Sadly, it’s not a condition, which can be cured but with proper treatment, people with CP disorder might be helped.

One of those people who have a chance to receive a long-term physical treatment is Buse. Buse receives hippotherapy, horseback riding as a rehabilitation treatment, from one of our partners, Elele Foundation. Since joining Elele Foundation’s hippotherapy sessions, Buse’s eye contact, reflexes and awareness of other people around her improved so much that her physiotherapist was mesmerized by her unusually fast development. For the first time in her life, she was able to sit and walk independently after receiving special treatment for six months.

Another amazing teenager who overcame many challenges through hippotherapy is Taha. Taha was only a baby when he was diagnosed with autism, a neurodevelopmental syndrome. Growing up, he wasn’t able to care for himself and engage in human interactions. As he was severely unaware of dangers, he often harmed himself by jumping in front of cars or touching extremely hot objects. After completing hippotherapy sessions for a year through Elele Foundation, Taha became conscious of objects and people around him. He is now able to protect himself from any harm. What’s next for him? Learning how to care for himself independently.

There are thousands of children with disabilities just like Buse and Taha in Turkey. But only 18 of them are able to join Elele Foundation’s 1-year-long hippotherapy sessions because of limited financial resources. As Nuraltay family stated their wish to change the lives of many in their will, TPF granted over $34,000 from Nuraltay Family Foundation to Elele Foundation with a goal to enable disabled teenagers join its rehabilitation program. Thanks to the generosity of Neriman and Ilhan Nuraltay, now disabled children are gaining self-esteem and independence and improving their social and mobility skills.