Address: Kocagur Street Number:1 Efeler/Aydin

Country: Turkey

 School website

Project: Give a Hand Be a Light

Working language during the project:

  • English
  • Turkish


Themes of the Council of Europe campaign “FREE to SPEAK, SAFE to LEARN - Democratic Schools for All” covered:

  • Making children’s and students’ voices heard
  • Addressing controversial issues
  • Preventing violence and bullying
  • Tackling discrimination
  • Improving well-being at school


Competences from the Reference Framework of Competences for Democratic Culture (CDC) addressed and where / how they were integrated:

  • Flexibility and adaptability
    A Flower and seedling cultivation project, which also matched their lifestyle, was started to provide them with the economic opportunities which are given to the other members of the society. We got in contact with employers in the sector to provide flexibility and to adopt the working rules in different working areas.
  • Knowledge and critical understanding of the world: politics, law, human rights, culture, cultures, religions, history, media, economies, environment, sustainability
    As our students come from different cultures, they have problems in adopting the community rules. We invited a variety of social groups to our school to provide cultural communication. We aim to raise environmental awareness and love of nature by activities such as hiking, picnics, visiting animal shelters.
  • Co-operation skills
    Culturally, they are used to living alone. They find it difficult to work in groups. A variety of social, cultural, artistic and sportive activities are done together (making model airplanes, football tournaments, choir, drama etc.).


Target group age range:

  •  5-11 
  • 11-15

Level of education:

  • Primary education
  • Lower secondary education

Short description of the project:

Our school is in Aydin, in the west part of Turkey. Originally Kocagur neighbourhood was a village and people still continue to live in a village style. More than half of the population are Roma. They have economic, medical, educational and unemployment problems. The rate of crime and drug addiction is high. In our school we have 88 students and 12 teachers. Our school is located in a disadvantaged area. For this reason, it is difficult to have healthy communication as leaving school at an early age and cultural differences are so common. Absenteeism and school leaving is higher than average, both provincially and nationally.

Furthermore, the absence rate in the lower secondary school in Aydın is 35%, but in our school the rate is 67%. Those who are continually absent will not get to go to the upper class and drop out of school. Our aim is to prevent these bad habits and use different approaches and methods to make these pupils regularly participate in school life. Among our approaches are home visits and cooperating with the families. We have organised school trips but these had little success. Then we informed the public authorities, and the authorities decided to monitor the families. Within ASDEP (Family Social Support Project), which includes all school teachers, every family has been monitored with regard to their economic, health and social conditions. In the meantime, the absenteeism rate has decreased but not ceased.

A variety of professionals and amateurs visit the school, such as natural disaster specialists, amateur music groups, university students, non-governmental organizations. They all give examples of difficulties they faced throughout their lives and encourage the students to overcome the obstacles they may face. They have fun and learn together.

We, as students, teachers and parents, visit and join a variety of cultural, historical, artistic and sportive activities. In-class and in-school activities are co-organised, such as painting, dramas and sports tournaments that give support to increasing students’ hand, artistic and sporting skills.



  1. to inform the families about the importance of education
  2. to make the students love the school
  3. to make the school their life style
  4. to improve their language and communication skills
  5. to increase their tolerance of multicultural lifestyles
  6. to stop school absenteeism and early-school-leaving
  7. to encourage them to adapt to different cultural communities and community lifestyle and rules


Expected results/outcomes

  • Role models from the fields of art, sports and culture, role-models for our students
  • Students are able to recognise the historical and cultural wealth of our country, and thus adopt new public rules and protect the environment.
  • Students find work according to their skills and interests and have no difficulty regarding access to upper education.



  • Particularly with the role models whom our students take as an example, we have realised that our students change their behaviours and lifestyles as they aspire to these role-models. With a variety of trips, we get our students familiar with our cultural and historical values. Also, they communicate with different cultures and adopt public rules to a large extent.
  • Thanks to project’s activities, students mostly decide to get jobs in line with their interests and skills.
  • As they take more active roles in the society, they have more self-esteem.


Challenges you faced

  • Societal prejudice because of our students’ cultural background.
  • Issues arising from students’ material and non-material problems.
  • Parents’ negative attitudes and behaviours towards students, school and education.
  • The negative effect of the environmental and physical conditions.


Time-frame of the project:

  • 1.10.2018 - 2.08.2021


Council of Europe materials on citizenship and human rights education used while preparing or implementing your practice:

  •  Reference Framework of Competences for Democratic Culture