Sustainable Charitable Services at the National and International Levels

İhsan Açık
Turkiye Diyanet Foundation, 2nd President of the Board of Trustees

Developing projects in every area that touches humans from education abroad and at home to the support activities of social and charitable services, the Turkiye Diyanet Foundation [Turkey’s Religious Foundation] alongside other non-governmental organizations in Turkey in the field of humanitarian aid have lead the Turkish nation’s helping hand to the oppressed and the victimized.

Aside from natural disasters like the earthquakes and floods experienced in the country in 2020 in Elazığ, Bingöl, İzmir, and Giresun, the Turkiye Diyanet Foundation has been an ointment on the wounds of the oppressed and the victimized through projects abroad like well water, Ramadan and Eid al-Adha and food aid, and good homes in which they deliver humanitarian aid to those in need across the country during Ramadan and Eid al-Adha during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Turkiye Diyanet Foundation, which landed in the Elazığ region following the earthquake that caused destruction centered in Sivrice and Malatya’s Doğanyol and Pütürge districts, provided hot food to a total of 45,000 people throughout the process, container homes to 102 earthquake victims, and 31 trucks of in-kind aid materials to those in need of service. Approximately 50,000 people have been reached as a result of the work done.

Our branches in Karlıova and Adaklı have reached a total of 4,800 people by distributing 800 food parcels to families. After the flood experienced in Giresun, 600 food parcels and 2,000 glasses of water were distributed to the people of the region, with a total of 3,000 people benefitting from this aid. From the first moment of the İzmir  Earthquake, a total of 30,000 people have been distributed hot meals. Additionally, around 10,000 people were reached with in kind aid works such as food parcels, hygiene packages, shoes, and heaters.

Within the scope of the A Drop of Life Project, our foundation has given hope to millions of people with no access to clean drinking water by opening water wells with depths of 50 to 500 meters and foundation fountains that can also be used by animals where agricultural irrigation can be done.

Having opened 143 wells and fountains in 20 countries in 2020, Turkiye Diyanet Foundation has provided for the benefit of around 6 million people by having opened 440 water wells and foundation fountains in 32 countries experiencing difficulty in accessing clean drinking water since 2015.

In 2020, Turkiye Diyanet Foundation has conducted 40.5 million TL in aid both domestically and abroad within the scope of the Ramadan program “You’re Expected to Not Forget Your Siblings.” Humanitarian aid was delivered to a total of 1,804,982 people in 81 provinces domestically as well as 254,275 people in 183 regions in 39 countries abroad within the framework of the Ramadan program. As part of the “Share Your Sacrifice, Get Close to Your Siblings” project in 2020, 430 sacrificial shares were slaughtered in provinces and districts domestically and a total of 557,311 shares in 308 regions in 74 countries; through the oblation, Aqiqah, and thankfulness sacrifices, the total reached 573,024 shares. Qurban aid was delivered to approximately 25 million people in total.

Apart from the Ramadan and Qurban aid in Palestine, food and cash-rent support of US$32,500 was given to families of those who had lost their lives in Israel’s attacks on Gaza; 35 disadvantaged families and 40 orphaned families benefitted. Due to the flooding in Yemen, aid was delivered to a total of 4,537 families, with 4,537 food parcels, 400 water tanks, 560 kitchen appliances, 800 beds, and 3 blankets for each family. US$300,000 of humanitarian aid was carried out across the country. A total of 200 female refugees received training on sewing and embroidery through our activities in vocational training facilities (soap and sewing workshops) in refugee camps located in the city of Cox’s Bazaar in Bangladesh and Rakhine State; approximately 80,000 liters of different types of liquid soap (hand soap, laundry detergent, dishwashing detergent) were produced and benefit was provided to 400,000 people. Allocations have been periodically carried out to refugees. 240 students have begun receiving education by being given formal educational support at the primary and secondary education levels at the School of Kindness. 120,000 people in need have been provided benefit by six water wells being renovated in refugee camps in recent years. Also, 4,500 umbrellas and 1,000 blankets have been distributed to the people in the region.

After the flooding that occurred in Indonesia at the beginning of 2020, 340 food packages were delivered and 64,000 liters of clean drinking water.

After the explosion in the Port of Beirut in Lebanon, $18,000 in emergency food aid was provided; repair and restoration of 5 houses and a mosque affected by the explosion as well as food and 1,100 hygiene packets were distributed to 1,100 people. Food and materials for shelter were delivered to 5,000 people after the flood disaster in Sudan.

Turkiye Diyanet Foundation provided hot food, 41,942,000 loaves of bread, 6,236 garments in support to 4,695,000 people in Idlib and the Fırat Kalkanı, Zeytin Dalı, and Barış Pınarı Regions, as well as education opportunities for 2,880 students, cash payment support for 2,431 religious officials, educational support for 15,900 Qur’an course students, and 374,844 liters of fuel support for use in the regional Qur’anic courses. 395 trucks of additional aid were sent to the region through our 1,003 branches in the country. School stationary aid is provided periodically to students in the region.

1,753 of the 5,000 benevolence houses planned for construction within the scope of the Bir İyilik Sıcak Bir Yuva [One Kindness is a Warm Home] project in the Idlib and the Fırat Kalkanı Region were delivered to families upon completion. Families have been provided with warm homes with 30 m2 residences. Disadvantaged families were provided with accommodations and educational support with the complex, which is made up of 108 self-sufficient apartments in terms of water and energy and has a mosque, school, and cultural center. Turkiye Diyanet Foundation covers the expenses of the Hz. Aişe, Zemzem and İman Camps where 807 women and orphans are found. Refugees living in the camps are examined weekly by volunteer doctors, with drug support being provided to 200 people.

Support is provided to 600 children annually who are victims of war at Tomurcuklar Rehabilitation Center for hearing and physical therapy and rehabilitation services as well as school stationary supplies.

Turkiye Diyanet Foundation provides support in the field of education for 25 educational projects in 14 countries abroad and scholarship and educational support to 8,193 students within the scope of domestic scholarship programs.

As Turkiye Diyanet Foundation, our routine work aimed particularly at those in need in crisis regions and domestically have continued within the scope of our activities in 2020, with aid activities coming to the fore during the pandemic through the earthquakes and natural disasters that occurred domestically. Our domestic Ramadan efforts have been aimed at people who’ve become victims due to the pandemic. Humanitarian aid activities for Syria and African countries have gained importance abroad. The importance of stakeholder institutions has emerged as a result of access restrictions to countries and regions due to the pandemic. In 2020, we prioritized our aid activities domestically for disaster victims of the Elazığ, İzmir, and Bingol’s Karlıova earthquakes and Giresun flood disaster, while abroad we’ve accelerated our activities in Africa while slowing down our efforts in the Balkans and Turkic Republics with the effect of the pandemic. Our work in Syria, Lebanon, and Bangladesh has continued with full intensity.

Lastly, the 2020 COVID-19 pandemic has strengthened our belief that supporting sustainable and permanent activities is more efficient than aid activities aimed at meeting daily needs. The feedback received from the fieldwork and our stakeholders has also strengthened this determination of ours. Therefore, our plans for the coming years will also include prioritizing permanent and sustainable activities. We will also produce joint products for expanding communications and areas of work with our stakeholders.

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