Update on Gunay’s Educ8 English Education Program
On March 27, we shared the inspiring story of Gunay Aksoy, the founder of the Educ8 Empowerment Program. When she was 12 years old, she was recommended by her teachers for a study abroad program in the United States. Her elders decided it was not her place and sent her brother instead. Fast forward to this day, Gunay is now a vice-president at a leading financial institution in New York. It was this childhood experience that brought her to TPF to start a campaign in support of girls’ education. Below is an update on the continued success of her efforts.
Gunay Aksoy, by tapping into TPF’s knowledge, and through its platform and non-profit status, started a campaign for girls’ education last year. She raised about $23,600 to bring successful girls from southeast Turkey to New York for a summer study program. After two rounds of interviews, four bright students have been selected to participate in her program this year. They are:
Eda, is from Sanliurfa and is studying Electrical & Electronics Engineering at Gaziantep University.
Fatma, is from Batman and is doing a double major in Medicine (in English) and Physical Therapy & Rehabilitation at Marmara University. She is one of the 11 kids in the family and the only girl out of her seven sisters who have made it this far.
Gul, is from Sanliurfa and she’s completing a Master’s Degree in Political Science at Marmara University.
Nevruz, is from Sirnak and she’s studying Psychology at Ege University. She won a literature competition in 6th grade which changed her perspective on life and about herself when the grantee partners visited her town to celebrate her accomplishment.
If you would like to meet our girls, volunteer your time and/or ideas so they can make the best of their short stay in New York, please visit Educ8 Empowerment Program. Gunay’s story is a community story and it can be your story, too. If you have an idea that you’ve been resting on, find out how to start your own fund and join forces with TPF, and let us help you turn your dreams into reality.
March 27, 2015
My Dream, My Story
By Gunay Aksoy
I was 12 years old. I have heard that I can’t do many things simply because I am a girl. I wanted to follow that ‘guidance’ provided by my elders, but it just didn’t make sense to me. One day my teachers recommended me for a summer study program in the United States because I have had really good grades. But my family and relatives decided it was not safe for a girl at my age to travel abroad alone, so they sent my brother instead.
Yes, I was only 12 years old when I faced my first case of gender inequality. That incident changed my outlook on life going forward. Since then I worked very hard, I had a very successful academic life followed by a thriving career in finance. Late last year, I had an epiphany. I realized I was driven by my past in trying to prove to the society that as a woman I was just as capable as men and with that Educ8 Empowerment Program was born. We have different strengths and weaknesses, but we are all human. Unlike anything else I have done in life, I find endless energy and strength to keep fighting the inherent biases in society that places girls at a disadvantage from a very young age.
Turkish Philanthropy Funds enabled me to turn my dream of bringing five young women in college with economic difficulties from Turkey to New York for English education into a reality. TPF shared their platform and services and made a tremendous impact on the direction of this cause. I am thankful to all the members of this wonderful organization for their support. We are working closely with Cagdas Yasami Destekleme Dernegi (CYDD), a vetted TPG grantee partner and they are assisting with selection of the candidates and planning process in Turkey. The program will expand these girls’ horizons and help them believe that they can dream big and not be stopped due to their gender, background, and economic status. If you also believe in addressing gender equality in education, please join me!”