Youth Language, Mentorship and Psycho-Social Awareness Training Program Launch

Small Projects Istanbul is proud to announce its new Young Language, Mentorship and Psycho-Social Awareness Training Program made possible through the support of World Bank Group in collaboration with Robert College, and psychological consultant Eman Zaki.

Istanbul alone is home to over 360,000 displaced Syrians, with a great deal of children made vulnerable in their new environments. Recognizing childhood as a crucial stage for social and self-development, it is vital that deliberate action is taken to provide constructive support to our youth for positive personality growth and perspective throughout life.
Using trauma-informed care, the program will guide a core group of children toward effective integration with the local society through greater self confidence and access to Turkish language training.

The six-month project funded by the World Bank Group launched at the end of December 2016 under the guidance of Turkish Program Coordinator, Naz Sağlam. With a three-method approach, using Turkish language training, mentorship and psycho-social awareness tools, the project has the ultimate goal of building self-love, confidence, language skills, coping techniques, and more meaningful integration for 20 SPI youth into their new communities.

Carrying out the mentorship aspect of the program, twelve high school students from Robert Collect will act as role models to our students. The mentors will make visits with the program beneficiaries and introduce them to various environments through outdoor and educational activities, cultural excursions and local field trips. Over time, it is intended that the youth gain in trust and connection with Turkish peers, develop positive expectations, and a sense of belonging as they build bonds in new social circles.

The students have now met with the mentor group during a visit at the center where they played getting to know you games and shared excitement for the program.

The second facet of program delivery is through internal psycho-social awareness and Turkish language training sessions. Facilitator Naz, with the expert guidance of psychological consultant Eman Zaki will use creative mediums — art therapy, music and dance workshops, to encourage artistic expression and lead children toward increased self confidence and comfort in revealing emotions. Creative fields provide children with a coping platform that fosters a comfortable space to reveal emotions and recognize shared experience.

Using the trust Naz has built with her students as the first building block, the program’s enthusiastic partners are playing a critical role in developing a program we know will be rewarding if we exercise patience and mindfulness. We can’t wait to see the gains that will be achieved in guiding our youth toward brighter futures and look forward to bringing you along in the process. Stay informed by following us in our daily work on our blog, Facebook and Instagram!

About the Author

Lauren Simcic

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Sales & Marketing


Naz Sağlam

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Program Manager

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