When all children have access to clean water, when all mothers, regardless of where they live, can provide the basic needs of their children, thus giving them the opportunity to go to school, attend college, and build a better life, we will see a reduction in poverty.
That’s what Ibrahim Betil, founding CEO and President of Sen-De-Gel Dernegi, believes. And that focus on creating equal opportunity for all, be it in income, education, or access to clean water, is what’s propelled him forward for the past fifteen years.
After working in the banking industry for many years and trying his hand in politics, Betil decided that the only way to make an impactful and long-term change in society is through philanthropy. With this determination, he founded the Volunteers in Education Foundation (TEGV) and had also been actively involved with the establishment of Community Volunteers Foundation (TOG) and many other NGOs in Turkey. Seeing how effective use of resources can create a lasting impact for future generations, Betil turned to other countries when he met two Gambians who came to visit TOG in the hopes of future collaboration. Traveling to The Gambia made him realize he “had two choices – doing nothing and going back to Turkey or doing something.” He chose the latter and established Sen De Gel Dernegi in 2012 in Istanbul.
Sen de Gel fights poverty in the least developed countries. Since inception, they helped 360,000 people in Gambia and Senegal get access to clean water, started an animal husbandry project, built solar panels and provided rice mills and water wells. These long-term projects are designed to create and maintain a sustainable society where the basic needs are fulfilled.
With a recent donation from a US donor through TPF, the organization built two wells in two different villages serving 950 people. During the opening ceremony “villagers were ecstatic,” Betil notes. One of the villages’ chief expressed thanks on behalf of all villagers, “We need two things to have a happy and healthy livelihood- first is air, we need it to breathe. Second, water, we need it for our bodies to be nourished and sanitation. And you gave it to us, we are forever thankful. ” Betil shared his interaction with one of the women who had twins, “a woman who had two babies in her hand approached me and said, ‘Today is the happiest day of my life. Now, I will be able to see my twins grow up thanks to this well you have built in my village. Before I walked a long distance to reach water. Now, my twins are yours.” In the other village, another woman approached him and said, “I almost walked close to 10km to get to the water with two small buckets in my hand, now all I need is to come to this well. Thank you, we owe you our livelihood.”
Donors increasingly see themselves as part of the local community, part of a national landscape, and part of a global landscape. They care about what’s going on down the street, across the country, and around the world. They want their community foundation to respond to the entirety of their philanthropic interests, not just one slice. At Turkish Philanthropy Funds, we are happy to be helping donors make a difference locally and globally. As our community grows, our reach grows as well. We are delighted that we get a chance to tackle more challenges and reach more… with the support of our community…
We’re a place where the entirety of the community can meet. You can meet to help people and to receive help. We’re all givers and we’re all recipients of the work we do.
Support Sen De Gel Dernegi in fighting poverty!