This summer has brought a great deal of positive change. The last time many of you have seen us, we were creating, playing, learning and working diligently in our cozy cellar space in Çapa. But now you’ll have to find us at our new address, just a block over. We’ve moved again! For the third (and presumably final) time we have outgrown our facility as our community grows, and we’ve moved to a bright new space in the Çapa neighborhood we call home. We are intentional in our choice to stay in Çapa, as the core of our community live in the direct neighborhood. This ease of access means families can participate fully in our 40+ weekly enrichment programs.
Our old community center, a basement a few steps away from the new one!
The five-story facility is not only clean and safe, but a beautiful space our women can feel proud to learn new skills and create in whilst their children take part everything from drama to football, cooking to psychosocial therapy– all while making new friends. We feel privileged to have this comparative bounty of space in which all have room to foster skills, relationships and continue to grow.
Our new facility
The first few months in the center have been marked with a lot of encouraging outputs and results
Catie, Project Coordinator- Drop Earrings Not Bombs, visited England to sell the earrings at ‘WOMAD’ festival and visit independent buyers. The face-to-face contact with both festival attendees and retail outlets gave us the valuable opportunity to really connect and share our story.
Two months after the move, the spaces and their uses have been defined, used and claimed lovingly by the various children, youth, and women who’ve quickly given them character and a touch of our community’s personality. The children enjoyed covering the small outdoor space adjacent to the children’s play area with their personalities, (using FINGER PAINT with artist Imad Habbab!).
Youth Summer Program Coordinators have utilized a number of wonderful volunteers to provide a summer activities program where kids can fully enjoy themselves, learn new things and make friends whilst they are away from school.
Our program coordinator, Othman has been coordinating with the community to ensure families are aware of the programs their children partake in and support the lessons learned at home. This has led to improved participant behavior, cohesion and families supporting the volunteer-led program.
The women have created three orderly workshops to support their sewing, macrame, jewelry, and screen printing projects that are becoming a unified brand under the guidance of the collective’s partner, GPP. The craft collective has been working hand in hand with Global Project Partners. The past six months the women have been focusing on developing new business and handicraft skills to professionalize their brand and add new products to their expanding line. Production is underway and the women are excited to present the line in entirety for the first time at a craft fair in Berlin this Fall.
Meanwhile, we have a welcoming reception area for receiving guests, a modern kitchen for women to prepare and share meals, and a quiet space for our Vision Team to collaborate in driving SPI forward as we reach our shared goals.
In comparison to last summer the difference is tremendous. Improved coordination and evaluation mechanisms has led to deeper impacts with a high retention rate among youth participants.
The numbers have risen from the beginning of the summer in the teen’s activities from an average of 8 participants, now up to 15.
Summer program activities have included a week long visit from from Clowns Without Borders UK, a new drama program and multiple trips outside the center.
Youth program coordinator, Naz has noted that many new faces have come and this is really positive for the future. Many new attendees requested Turkish language support, a sign that youth are being proactive toward their own integration and success in Istanbul.
As of early August, we launched our new Play for a Day Program in which various age groups work with Belma, a new pre-school teacher facilitating the program.
Belma is using ‘incidental’ learning and Montessori methods to encourage language and emotional learning. Mothers of participating children help facilitate a minimum of one session per week, positioning them to reinforce the skills and behaviors being learned into their homes.
The program has had an impressive turnout with 100% of age-eligible families registering and attending. 42 children now benefit from the developmentally appropriate programming.
We hope you’ll enjoy the following photos and recent feedback from our community members and volunteers as a preview of what we’ve been up to since our mid-May move.
Keep an eye out on our Facebook for a Community Day in early September! You’re invited to come see our new community center. We are excited for you to see the space, take a tour, and have a discussion of our work and how you can get involved over tea and cake.
We asked the team how they feel about the new center. Here’s what they had to say:
The new space gives us the freedom to do all the activities we have been wanting to do! Also it enables sufficient separation between programming and operations for us to improve administration processes to really support the running of the organisation. I believe the new center gives us the opportunity to really fulfill our full potential as a community!
The light in the new centre is both inspiring and relaxing, there are many rooms for the many opportunities of this evolving community. It gives us the chance of a fresh canvas, to grow together respecting each other and our collective new space… I hope we all feel it belongs to all of us!
Project Coordinator - Women's Craft / Drop Earrings
Bigger place gives us space to do more activities and serve more people.
On the other hand, the new building is healthy unlike the old one.
New facility gives everyone enough space to participate with programs and activities in a safe and positive environment.
Separate working areas for women and staff will create a sense of an advanced organisation. When it is compared to the old facility it seems there is more going on than just a charity.
Youth Program Coordinator
The new facility is beautiful and well-organized!
The new community center is big and cozy, I consider it a strategic development. However, with that comes the need for even more effort in organization of work and community service. The people whom SPI help have faith and trust in us, and that’s the essence of our work. The very existence of our organization is all about that.
Community Liaison - Craft Collective Coordinator
I’m really excited about the new center. The expanded space allows us to designate areas for programming, creating a safe space for children’s activities and has professionalized the women’s workshop areas. What’s most positive to see is the sense of pride it’s given the community and staff to work in the bright and modern space, allowing us to work with clearer minds as we make it our own.
Communications and Fundraising Coordinator
The new center is awesome, it’s great to be ambitious and never stop growing. Keep moving!
It’s one step forward and a sign of growing. More different activities are going on now. I’m so happy to move there, especially we have a separated place for the Women’s crafts which help them to be more organized. Many congrats for our amazing team for achieving this, wish us more success.
Professional Skills Development Trainer
The new space gives us the freedom to do all the activities we have been wanting to do! Also it enables sufficient separation between programming and operations for us to improve administration processes to really support the running of the organisation. I believe the new center gives us the opportunity to really fulfill our full potential as a community! Shannon Kay, SPI's Co-Director