Have you ever heard about charity runs before? One of my friends did one two years ago in Istanbul with the organization, “Adım Adım” (Step by Step). He ran in support of the Koruncuk Vakfı. That was the first time I heard about AdımAdım and Koruncuk.
This year I decided to run as well. So I went to the Koruncuk village to find out more about this association. Here you can find some of my questions and answers I received about the Koruncuk Village.
-What is the Koruncuk Village (known in English as Childen’s Village)? How many countries have Children’s villages?
The Children’s Village consist of 4 parts: the actual village, mother, brotherhood, and family. There are pre-schools inside the village, but primary school aged children living in the village attend nearby schools, so they learn the normal life and interact with children outside the village. The Children’s Village system has 4 levels, beginning with family houses. Every family house has one mother and 7-8 children. Families living together share all responsibilities and difficulties, just like families made up of children with their biological parents. When they are between 12-13 years old, girls and boys move to the “youth” houses where they live separately. Until 20-21, when they have finished university and have found jobs, they live in the youth houses, under the leaders’ control. After finishing their education and having their professions where they are able to earn their own money, they can rent a flat outside of the village. At this stage they are still helped by the village but not totally. So in this way, the children are still connected to the village, just like children are connected to their biological families even after leaving home. The village continues to provide spiritual help, thus the children never feel alone.
Unfortunately, a lot of people don’t know about Children’s Villages worldwide, but 132 countries have Children’s Villages.
-When was the Bolluca Children’sVillage established and how big is it?
It opened in 1992, and the village covers over a 52 acres.
-What is a Family House?
It's a place where 7-8 children between 0-13 years old live with a “mother” together. The mother is responsible for everything in the house, much like a biological mother would. The mother takes care of the education of the children, their health, meals, etc. The older children also take some responsibility for the younger “siblings”, helping them earn self-esteem. There is one “aunt” for every two houses who help with daily duties in these houses. When the mother has free day the aunt takes control and has the responsibilities. The home life runs very much like a normal large family runs outside the village
-Who are the mothers?
They are women between the ages of 25-45, who have the ability to take care of 7-8 children. Most of them have university degrees. In addition they take some courses from government so that they are able to do more with their “families”. They play a big part of the children’s educations and well-being. They are paid monthly.
-What is the daily life in the Children’s Village like?
The day begins at 7 o'clock. The children have breakfast (prepared by their mothers) at home. Then they go to school. If the schools are far away the village service brings them there. Children between 3-6 years old go to the kindergarten in the village. If they are in schools near the village they have their lunches in the village. At the end of the school day, at 16:00, all children return to the village.
Every week one house is chosen to be a ''Guest House.'' That week if there are any guests who wants to visit the village, this house welcomes them and gives them tea. This routine gives them the chance to teach guests about the village.
For children in 6th, 7th, and 8th grades there are two hours of free time, after which they are expected to do their homework in groups. Children are grouped together based on their grade levels.
At the weekends there are social and cultural activities. Children go to the theater and museum every other week.
Dinner is eaten at the family table all together. Children are expected to eat dinner with their mother and aunt (when she is there).
-What does Koruncuk means?
Koruncuk comes from Korunmaya Muhtaç Çocuk, and basically means “Children who need to be protected”
-have no mother or father,
-Don't know their mother or father
-Were abandoned by their mother or father
-or are children who were in bad conditions (living in environments that are considered dangerous to their well-being - alcoholism, drug use, prostitution, etc.)
-When can we visit the Children’s Village?
You can visit every day during business hours. But if you would like to visit as a large group please contact the village before coming.
-Where is this village and how can we go there?
Bolluca Children’s Village is in Istanbul's new town in Arnavutköy’s Bolluca village. You can come through Gaziosmanpaşa or you can come from Kemerburgaz – Göktürk.
I am planning my first AdımAdım (Step by Step) Run in support of this Koruncuk Children Village. I hope with the money we can raise, these villages will grow and there will be more happy kids in them. Unfortunately, there is only room for approximately 100 children in the village, but there are still many more children in government orphanages throughout the country. More children need the chance to grow up in loving and supportive environments such as this, but to provide this opportunity it takes money- money that I am helping to fundraise for.
Currently there are plans to open a new village in İzmir near future, but it is still not enough.
If you have any questions please don’t hesitate to ask me and I'll try to answer them. Here is my facebook group for this Run and information about how I am preparing for the run. If you want to participate in the run as a runner or you would like to donate money to help this association please contact me, and I can tell you how to donate.(One of the things I like most about Charity runs is that I don’t touch donations, the money goes straight to the Children’s Village. I’m just here to tell you about it and bring attention to an important cause).
Your support is greatly appreciated.
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