The "Istanbul: City of Culture" project, carried out through the cooperation of the Istanbul Medeniyet University Social Collaboration Research and Application Center (SOSYOPARK) and the Turkish Red Crescent's Community Center in Istanbul's Sultanbeyli district, aims to develop Syrian children's Turkish skills in reading, writing, listening and speaking by introducing them to Istanbul.
Stating that the project aims to provide the children with the opportunity to learn Turkish while focusing on the city's culture, which is "one of the fundamental elements" of linguistic education, project coordinator Dr. Elif Kır, an assistant professor in Istanbul Medeniyet University's Foreign Languages Department, said: " We have a very rich culture, from traditional music to Turkish cuisine. With this project, we want to transfer the knowledge of our culture to the students as they learn Turkish, via Istanbul, while improving their listening, writing, speaking and reading skills."
The attendees of the project will be Syrian students between the ages of 8 and 14 with intermediate-level Turkish, the level needed to properly follow the activities. The "Istanbul: City Of Culture" project will start in the first week of November and is expected to continue for 20 weeks.
Dr. Kır added that normally language studies do not exclusively focus on Istanbul, so they will be providing the participants with information about the city in accordance with each individual's linguistic level, including topics like its history and legends. "I think this is what makes this project different," she said.
Halime Yağcıoğlu, the director of the Turkish Red Crescent Community Center in the Sultanbeyli district, told Daily Sabah that they intend to help Syrian children understand the city they live in, including its history, nature and geography. "The most important aspects of this project are that it has a certain thematic frame and has the potential to have a permanent, lasting impression on children in terms of its theoretical and practical activities. With these contributions, the program will play a supportive role in the children's social adaptation process," she said.
Turkey hosts 3.2 million Syrian refugees, more than any other country in the world, according to official figures. Among them, 1.2 million of the refugees are children, UNICEF has stated.