A group of Turkish volunteers who arrived in Somalia as part of an initiative by the Turkish development agency have started renovating an orphanage and school, reports said Sunday.
Consisting of 200 students, the 2017 Africa Experience Sharing Program led by the Turkish Cooperation and Coordination Agency (TIKA) will allow volunteers to visit numerous African countries, including Tunisia, Libya, Somalia, Kenya, Algeria, Chad, Sudan, Niger and Ghana from Aug. 5 to 30.
As part of the program, seven students arrived in Somalia's capital Mogadishu and visited the Turkish Embassy, the Turkish military training base, a civil aviation school, and the offices of Turkish Airlines, TIKA and the Turkish Maarif Foundation.
The volunteer students from different universities in Turkey also participated in repair works of the Al Haramain orphanage in the capital Mogadishu. The orphanage will also serve as a school for 800 Somalian children.
Usame Targal, a second-year law student from Istanbul Sabahattin Zaim University, told Anadolu Agency that they had painted 200 benches and tables in the school.
"We have learned a new culture and customs through this exchange program […] We have established a bridge between the two continents," he said.
The students will participate in social, cultural and humanitarian activities and renovate schools, orphanages, libraries and places of worship as predetermined by TIKA and local NGOs in the visiting countries.
They will also take part in the implementation of local developmental projects.
Established in 1992, Turkey's government-run TIKA aid agency is mandated with implementing Turkey's developmental cooperation policies overseas and carries out projects focusing on humanitarian aid, restoration of public works, as well as infrastructure and education.