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Religious Youth Service

RYS Renovates a School, Cultural Center, and Orphanage in Turkey

Participants: 60 Nations Represented: 23

Republic of Turkey

Background: The nation of Turkey and the city of Istanbul hosted the RYS project. The beautiful and history rich area of Istanbul provided an ideal setting for cultural programs.

The RYS after researching several project proposals decided on having two work sites, one in Cannakale, a small city located on the Aegean Sea, south of Istanbul. The second site was at Golbasi, also a small muncipality that is located near Ankara, the nation's capital.

Duration: July 14 - August 6, 1994


Ankara: Participants worked digging a foundation, building walls, landscaping the area and providing indoor construction and restoration for the school. The school itself served mentally disabled children and throughout the project over a hundred local children and parents contributed helping hands at the construction site.

Canakale: RYS provided a variety of service in Canakale under the guidance of the municipal office. One project included creating and improving the grounds for an outdoor Cultural center. A second work was at an orphanage for young girls where the grounds were landscaped and a playground built. During the work at the orphanage many of the young girls joined in the work or shared time with the participants.

Summary: This was the first global project done in a nation with a large Muslim population. The program received support from municipalities via the central state office, Head of Municipalities and the Mayor's Office in Canakale. Unique to the make up of this specific project was the composition of the participant base. This project involved youth who were on the staff of the PLO, young Jews from Israel and Muslims from Jordanians, despite the initial tension, all had a very good experience and were able to begin to establish a mutual respect.

Site Leaders: Ankara,:Drs. Kazi and Azizzun Islam
Canakale: Mrs. Indira Swaminathan and Mr. Kerim Tseney
Local organizer: Riza Ozcan
Project Co-ordinator:Mitch Lawrie
Project Director: Rev. John W. Gehring
Advisors: Dr. and Mrs. Kazim Gulek, Mr. Yamazaki, Mr. Taj Hamad, Mr. Jonathan Tsevi

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