Monday, 28 May 2012

School Ties.

Alan of Archers of Okcular has recently posted an interesting account of his fund-raising success for the  local village school.  The teachers and parents in his village are obviously very  grateful for his generous efforts.  My connections with Turkish schools ended in 2000 when my daughter left to join the British education system and I stopped teaching English.  Recently, I was enjoying a coffee and cake in Bodrum with an old friend when he took a call on his mobile from “Mudur Bey”.  As the friend is self- employed, I was wondering to whom he was being so deferential and he explained that the call was from the headmaster of his children’s school and there were outstanding bills to pay.  As chairman of the parents' association, my friend was expected to come up with the cash.   The government only provides the teachers’ salaries and pays the electricity bill for this state school.  Cleaning costs, photocopy inks and toners, repairs to the building and all the other incidentals have to be found elsewhere.  This past winter was so cold that the electrical heating wasn’t sufficient and fuel had to be bought for the wood-burning stoves.  His kids’ school’s only extra source of income is the tuck shop so the parents are asked for “donations”. Some schools can use their playgrounds in the summer break as paid car parks but this isn’t an option for most villages.  A lot of effort in the ex-pat community seems to be directed at charities looking after street animals, which is a very worthy cause, but I’m more inclined to follows Alan’s direction and see what help we can be to our local village school, which looks considerably more dilapidated now than it did when we left 12 years ago. I was looking forward to volunteering to teach some English when schools open in September, but this now seems a rather naive offer in view of the financial difficulties the school must be operating under.  I don't think I'll be up to writing a book like Alan, but am open to suggestions.


  1. It's really hard on these local schools, and particularly on most of the parents who generally don't have money to spare. Although I support one animal rescue charity here, I do feel that children should come first. Some English friends of mine who have moved to Cappadocia, previously lived in Side. They heard that the local school couldn't afford football kits for their team, so they quietly and without fuss, donated kits. I thought this was a lovely gesture.

    I had one thought. The FB page for sales and wants in Bodrum that you recently pointed out to me...I wonder if people using it would be willing to donate a percentage from their sales to help with school funds?

    Other than that there are the usual fundraisers like bring and buy sales. There must be lots of expats and locals who could donate goods, homemade cakes and preserves etc.

    I'm sure others will come up with more interesting suggestions, but anyway I wish you good luck.

  2. Wow, this is an interesting challenge. When I used to teach immigrant adults English in the U.S., we used to have an annual raffle that was so successful, we would raise enough money sometimes to actually hire an extra teacher and put on another class. We would get local businesses to donate prizes - anything, like free nights at hotels, carwashes, pizzas, etc. - make the tickets cheap and sell tons of them. Of course, I don't know if that would translate into Turkish. Volunteering to teach or tutor English is a great idea, I think. Keep us posted on your ideas and progress.

  3. Animal welfare is a worthy cause but it's sad that we expats often forget to spare a thought for disadvantaged children. It’s easy to think that the problem is overwhelming and nothing can be done. However, Alan and J have shown how to make a difference. Perhaps start a campaign in the various forums? There are enough expats around to make small donations add up to something significant.

  4. . . one thing J and I have learned is the importance of developing a relationship with the school, staff and parent's committee. Perceptions of what is important or urgent will be different from what we might think. Dalyan has several active groups that raise funds for their local school and a special needs school in a next-door village. Fethiye International Group does stirling work in their neighbouring villages and would be a fount of information (Google them).

  5. We'd really like to put something back into the community here. We know that the Kusadasi expats are very involved in contributing to their local school for disabled children. One of the schools here in Selcuk was recently demolished (apparently it wasn't sufficiently earthquake-proof). It was demolished very quickly but they haven't started to rebuild it yet.
    It just seems so difficult to volunteer to do anything without a work permit.