Support for Women’s Work

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Support for Women’s Work

Istanbul, Turkey
Organization type: 
nonprofit/ngo/citizen sector
Project Stage:
$1,000 - $10,000
Project Summary
Elevator Pitch

Concise Summary: Help us pitch this solution! Provide an explanation within 3-4 short sentences.

Sengül Akcar has designed a community-based foundation that educates and empowers poor women and families. She does this by enabling women to break from their traditional, limiting roles and to gain financial independence and self-respect by learning nontraditional skills, such as carpentry.

WHAT IF - Inspiration: Write one sentence that describes a way that your project dares to ask, "WHAT IF?"

women could break from limiting social roles & gain financial independence by learning nontraditional job skills such as carpentry?
About Project

Problem: What problem is this project trying to address?

It is estimated that only 10 percent of women own property and were only recently given an equal share of the family’s assets in a divorce. Particularly disadvantaged are husbandless women without access to good housing. If a woman’s husband dies, she is not typically entitled to the property. All or most of the property goes to the nearest male family member leaving the women without any financial stability.

Solution: What is the proposed solution? Please be specific!

Support for Women’s Work trains women in skills, such as carpentry -- a traditionally male skill. It has five centers in the impoverished neighborhoods near Istanbul. Each provides a physical space where women can convene to identify and discuss problems and challenges, design solutions, and learn from each other. The centers provide quality daycare for the women's children and serve as an example for other organizations with similar childcare needs elsewhere in Turkey. Through these centers, Sengül has recently launched a micro-credit program, unique to Turkey, as a result of which women are taught financial management skills traditionally reserved for men.
Impact: How does it Work

Impact: What is the impact of the work to date? Also describe the projected future impact for the coming years.

Sengül plans to create a network of local women's groups which function with the Foundation's support to influence local governmental administration and to increase advocacy for women both within Turkey as well as internationally. She plans to achieve this aim by involving women in establishing and strengthening local, national and international networks, utilizing international platforms, creating lobbies, sharing international experiences face-to-face and convening meetings among relevant actors both within as well outside Turkey.

Founding Story

Although Sengül participated in activities of Turkish feminist groups in the early 1980's, she saw that it was necessary to empower the majority of women who were often excluded from elitist feminist circles, who had no voice and were living in poverty. They needed to gain a platform for active participation in society. She launched her foundation to help them.