For three months every year, university students can serve the community, while earning a little pocket money thanks to the Social Labor Program.
Initiated by the Ministry of Family, Labor and Social Services, the program reached out to 20,000 students this year who took up social labor projects in July and will continue until September. They were chosen by a draw from more than 200,000 applicants who wanted to sign up for a diverse array of jobs, from planting trees, to working in children's houses to modernizing orphanage to helping the elderly in nursing homes.
The youth also have social security benefits and can earn up to TL 2,500 in three months working just three days a week. The government aims to engage more young people in social responsibility projects and sign up early for social security benefits before launching their careers.
Beyza Meşe, who studies at Cumhuriyet University in central Turkey to be a Turkish teacher, was assigned to a national park in Sivas where the university is located. The young woman helps a national park worker care for a roe deer fawn. Meşe and her national park colleague İlyas Deveci feed and care for the fawn every day before it grows up and is released back to nature. Halil İbrahim Gedik, studying to be a nurse in Gaziosmanpaşa University, also works at the park and helps workers tend to injured storks found in the park and elsewhere in Sivas.