Meet Yasmeen (12 years old), SPI’s restless beloved one! “Restless” here is in a good way, as she always seeks for more exploration, asks good questions, and requests for more activities from SPI’s team. The ones who’ve gotten to know her have seen a magnificent change in her personal growth and involvement with SPI over the years, and the beauty of it her awareness about it, which is presented by her words:
“When I joined Small Projects Istanbul four years ago, I didn’t have an answer when people would ask me what I wanted to do once I got older. Over the years SPI, through its various activities, helped me realize my passion for becoming a designer. In particular, my mother, who produces handicrafts as part of SPI’s Women’s Skills Development Program, inspired me to want to take this path.
I am involved in a range of activities from homework club -which helped me great deal for improving my school grades-, arts & crafts, English activities as well as Robert College excursions. SPI’s volunteers and activity facilitators have taught me invaluable lessons. I was once bullied at school for being Syrian. Remembering what SPI taught me about not reacting aggressively, I simply turned away. I didn’t experience such an instance again.
Further, SPI have taught me to constantly try new things and to not give up so easily. I am also grateful for understanding how to spread love and build healthy relationships. My best friend Ayesha, who I met through the center (SPI’s facility), is an example of this kind of positive connection. We grew close because Ayesha is supportive and listens to me sincerely.
I was also part of SPI’s “Integration Activities & Interpersonal Training” program on Thursdays. When I first came to Turkey I didn’t know how to get along with or understand the Turks. During a session, we played the guessing game Taboo. I realized that the group, comprised of both Syrians and Turks, were all similarly describing the selected word or phrase. My takeaway? We’re not so different from one another after all.”
For the past couple of years, Yasmeen has expressed her in volunteering and offered our volunteers her help in Arabic translation when needed. Like many of her friends. she is one of the best reminders of SPI’s reason to exist and a great motivation to further SPI’s growth development.