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(April 2005)

Ashoka is dedicated to affecting global social change by advancing the field of social entpreneurship. Leading social entrepreneurs are practical visionaries who possess qualities traditionally associated with business entrepreneurs—vision, innovation, determination and commitment—but who are devoted to systemic social change. Ashoka elects these pioneering social entrepreneurs as Fellows into a global association of their peers and invests in them financially and professionally to help launch their ideas. Ashoka assists over 1,500 Ashoka Fellows in 55 countries. There are currently 15 Ashoka Fellows positively impacting the lives of millions in Turkey.

Ms. Hulya Denizalp, Country Representative
Tophanelioglu cad. no.70 A-4 bl
D.1 Altunizade-Istanbul
Tel: 0216.545 26 46
Email:  hdenizalp@ashoka.org

Website: http://www.ashoka.org

Hulya is an experienced social entrepreneur who heads Ashoka Turkey from Istanbul. Since the 1970s, she has been a champion of the international youth movement. In 1994, Hulya founded a venture that focused on study abroad opportunities for young people.  There are now dozens of such camps in Turkey. In 1999, Hulya joined the Turkish Education Volunteers Foundation as their Human Resources Director and was responsible for setting up, training and staffing 71 branch offices throughout the country and establishing a system for recruiting, screening, placing, managing and training 4,000 volunteers dedicated to improving children's education. Hulya brings to Ashoka more than thirty years experience in the international development field.

Search and Selection

The Turkish fellowship stands at 15 dynamic social entrepreneurs and growing. With European Union membership as a critical priority for Turkey, the government and citizen organizations are struggling to improve the economic, political and social sectors with increasing speed. There is much work to be done, as Turkey is currently experiencing a GDP growth rate of 6.5% and unemployment is hovering at almost 11%. Turkish Ashoka Fellows are well poised to help affect the necessary change, and are working to boost economic development, improve the standard of living in Turkey, and help move their country towards greater acceptance and integration with their European counterparts. The newest changemakers to the Ashoka fellowship are advancing the fields of civic participation, corporate volunteerism, urban planning, sustainable fishing, environmental education, and natural disaster management.

See below for a snapshot of the complete Turkish Fellowship:

Ashoka Fellow

Field of Work


Ercan Tutal


Alternative Life Association

Yasemin Kılıç

Economic Development


Nevin Eraçar


Otiştikler Derenği

Guneşin Aydemir

Human Rights

Nature Net

Yusuf Kulca

Human Rights

Street Children Association

Nebahat Akkoç

Economic Development


Şengül Akçar


Kaya- Support for Women’s Work

Victor Ananias



Erol Scott

Civic Participation


Korhan Gumuş


Human Settlements Association

Mustafa Sarı

Civic Participation


Nasuh Mahruki

Civic Participation

Akut Search and Rescue Team

Ömer Madra

Civic Participation

Acik Radio

Zeynep Uluer

Civic Participation

Corporate Volunteer Association

İbrahim Betil

Civic Participation

Community Volunteers Association


Ashoka Fellows are transforming the lives of boys and girls who end up living on the streets of Istanbul and other major cities, ending the discrimination against Gypsies, improving the economic situation of women and low-income families, empowering the disabled and their families, and creating support centers for abused women. These Fellows are just a few examples of the work being done within the Turkish fellowship to bring lasting social change to Turkey and beyond. Consider the following cases:


YUSUF KULCA | Human Rights | Elected 2003

Begun nearly twenty years ago, Yusuf’s pioneering work with street children has meant that today, these children have a place to stay, food to eat, counseling and help in returning to their families (if they have families), as well as employment possibilities. Through his continuing efforts with street children and his work with another ignored group, Gypsies, Yusuf is helping marginalized groups in Turkey become productive citizens within mainstream society.

bulletYusuf currently works with over 200 Gypsy families and has made over 2,000 appearances to increase awareness and lobby for the rights of street children and Gypsies.
bulletHe has won notable gains for street children including: a national child protection unit specifically for street children, free hospital care to kids living on the streets, an emergency hotline for children in distress, and residential facilities for runaways.
bulletIn order to generate income for his association and also to increase social awareness on the issue, Yusuf’s organization, Street Children Association, published a book consisting of paintings and poems of street children. He also served as a consultant to a Turkish fi lm on street children named "Children of Secret".
bulletYusuf has recently launched the “Mustafa Demircioğlu Life School” project that will be built on a field of 27.000 m2 in Çatalca, a district close to İstanbul. This project will focus on providing skills, experience, and exposure to street children and Gypsies in the areas of greenhouse work, stockbreeding, fruit and vegetable growing, hotel management, indoor palm growing, sapling producing, and education. The school will provide literacy classes, computer skills, and primary school education for those in need.
bulletYusuf was recognized as a "World-Wide Leader" by the World Bank and is one of the "Project Profiles" currently featured on their website.


ŞENGÜL AKCAR | Economic Development | Elected 2003

Şengül has designed a unique, community-based foundation that educates and empowers poor women and families. By working at the community level, Sengül’s programs are increasing women’s financial capacities, political visibility, and democratic participation.

bulletRecently Şengül has organized a number of workshops focused on building women’s leadership potential. Approximately 50 women in Kocasinan, Esenyurt, Gazi and Sultanbeyli completed their leadership trainings, and another 16 attended a workshop for children to develop their artistic creativity.
bulletThrough her women’s centers, Şengül runs one of the first micro-credit programs where women are taught financial management skills traditionally reserved for men, and assists them in developing their own businesses by providing them with credit. This year credit was given to 440 women who started their own businesses in Kocaeli. KAYA now has 712 active members and has provided credit over 1,350 times.
bulletIn the last six months, approximately 1,000 children and women have taken advantage of the 15 Women and Children Center’s Şengül has established. One ongoing project at these centers involves neighborhood mothers working to solve child care problems of women who want to work. Groups of 10 volunteer women have been organized and work to address employment and child care needs for other poor women in their area.
bulletŞengül has also opened Nahil Restaurant to contribute economic enhancement of women and genuine handicrafts made by the female participants of Şengül’s programs are sold here.

ERCAN TUTAL | Learning/Youth Development | Elected 2003

Ercan offers disabled people of all ages an opportunity to confront and overcome challenges through sports--especially swimming and scuba diving. In doing so, they show themselves, their families and neighbors, and the public more broadly what they can achieve---the first step in changing oppressive attitudes and securing greater freedom of opportunity. Ercan stresses that Alternative Camp is not only a project but also an institution. Alternative Life Association (AYDER) has already started to develop and implement many social projects for people with disabilities and different needs. His latest achievements are highlighted below:

bullet This year over 700 handicapped people have benefited from his sports camps.
bullet Ercan and his team recently expanded Alternative Camp to a second facility in Antalya region on May 1, 2004. This camp is also focused on providing recreational programs for the disabled, and already has enlisted over 400 disabled participants and 100 volunteers working to ensure its success. This Alternative Camp 2 was created in partnership with the Turkish Spastic Children Foundation.
|A project entitled "Barrier-Free Social Life," has been implemented in numerous towns and helps local authorities re-configure their social services taking into account the needs and rights of the disabled. Ercan also has worked with universities and the media to help disseminate his advocacy campaigns for the rights of the disabled.
bullet Alternative Camp sponsored and coordinated an annual sports fair called REHA 2004 Fair. This unique fair conducted workshops on wall climbing, scuba diving, and held a seminar on sports for the disabled.
bullet The "Life School for Disadvantaged Women" project is in its final planning stages with the co-operation of Turkish Disability Association and the official support of the Istanbul Governorship. The aim of the project is to gather 60 disabled women and give them specific courses in English, handicraft design, and small business development for 6 months to increase their productivity in mainstream society.

NEBAHAT AKKOÇ | Human Rights/Civic Engagement | Elected 2001

Nebahat has launched a uniquely comprehensive support center for women in southeastern Anatolia, the poorest and most conservative region of Turkey. The self-supporting center, financed by an on-site restaurant and daycare center, provides a range of services to women in need, including legal and psychological counseling, human rights education, and child-care. To date, 420 women have participated in group sessions that meet for ten weeks to discuss a range of topics - human rights, democratic participation, leadership, education, and domestic violence prevention. She is helping hundreds of victimized women:

bulletApproximately 600 women access Nebahat’s emergency hot-line service annually.
bulletOver 500 women have sought refuge at her sites and she has prevented 53 honor killings this year alone.
bulletNebahat was awarded the prestigious Ginetta Sagan award given by Amnesty International in New York in April 2004 for her work to empower women in Turkey.
bulletShe was also recognized as one "38 Heroes of the Modern Age" by Time magazine in 2003 for her outstanding efforts to advance women’s rights in the region.
bulletIn 2004, Nebahat’s organization, KA-MER, expanded into 5 different cities throughout Turkey: Bingöl, Batman, Kızıltepe, Mardin and Diyarbakır.
bulletNebahat has taken great strides to build the capacity of her organization. In May 2004, she launched restructuring efforts in order to unite and build synergies between her various empowerment programs. In order to facilitate this change, Nebahat’s staff and volunteers were trained for adaptation to the new institutional on the following human rights topics: job performance, staff placement, relations within the organization, voluntary management, and staff / volunteers relations.
bulletThrough positive support from Hulya Denizalp and Susan Davis, Nebahat has successfully negotiated a $100,000 grant from a US funder to expand her economic activities for poor women.


Ashoka serves as the professional association for social entrepreneurs and their institutions. In an effort to effectively harness the energy and best practices of Fellows, Ashoka Turkey has encouraged Turkish Fellows to work collectively and supported Fellow-initiated professional development activities.

The 2004 Orientation and Induction of New Fellows

Ashoka Turkey held its most recent Orientation and Induction Ceremony on May 15, 2004 where 12 Turkish Fellows were officially inducted into the Ashoka Fellowship in a highly publicized event in Istanbul. The event consisted of a day-long orientation workshop attended by new Fellows, veteran Fellows and Ashoka staff.


In FY04, Ashoka Turkey has developed and maintained relationships with numerous organizations whose objectives and constituents overlap with our own. Ashoka has partners like Arkadaslar, as well as numerous other private and public sector organizations including:

bulletAIESEC in Turkey -- AIESEC stands out as the world’s leading global network of young people dedicated to developing socially responsible citizens who are proactive agents of change. AIESEC sponsors an exchange program, which provides students and young professionals quality internships to challenge their skills, values and knowledge. The aim of Ashoka’s partnership with AISEC is two fold. First, it provides Fellows with access to a vast supply of high quality, innovative interns from all over the world who can offer new insights and ideas to the Fellows’ work. Second, Fellows will furnish AIESEC students with opportunities to learn our unique approach both to international development and to social entrepreneurship.
bulletAcik Radio -- Senior Ashoka Fellow Omer Madra is Director General of the independent media channel focused on social affairs, Acik Radio. His radio station features Ashoka’s Turkey Representative Hulya Denizalp as the program producer for a show entitled "Voluntarism and Social Responsibility" which reaches an audience of over 500,000 listeners.
bulletBilgi University in Istanbul – Hulya conducted numerous lectures on human resources and volunteer management for NGO’s last year. Through her lectures, Turkey’s mainstream academic circles are being introduced to the concept of social entrepreneurship and Ashoka Fellows.
bulletPfizer, Adidas, a partner of White & Case law firm, and TELPA (a Turkish Telecommunication Company) provided all the office furniture and equipment for Ashoka’s new office in Istanbul

Ashoka Turkey is forging relationships with a number of national and multi-national, private companies in Turkey, and will continue to build upon our existing network of partners.

Marketing and Communication

Ashoka’s role as a pioneer in creating and promoting social entrepreneurship in Eurasia and the Middle East gives us a unique responsibility to develop a public understanding of the profession. Ashoka Turkey has been working to increase the visibility of Ashoka, our Fellows and their work, as well as the profession of social entrepreneurship through a Fellow-focused media strategy:

bulletAshoka made its debut appearance on Turkish TV as the 2004 Induction ceremony was lengthily featured on Turkey’s largest national TV channel, and the broadcast throughout Europe and Central Asia.
bulletArticles featuring Ashoka Turkey’s Orientation and Induction appeared in major Turkish newspapers, magazines, radio programs and TV news shows.
bulletAshoka marketing pamphlets in Turkish, videos highlighting Fellows, and a Turkish Ashoka website were created- http://www.ashoka.org
bulletA TV journalist volunteered to produce a CD ROM highlighting TV footage of Ashoka Fellows and Hulya’s featured appearances on national television.
bulletA well known Turkish magazine, ‘Aktüel’, published a piece on Ashoka featuring three Fellows and an interview with Hulya.


To contribute to Ashoka in the name of Arkadaslar, but to receive 501(c) 3 credit for income tax purposes, you may donate directly to:
     Ashoka U.S.A.
     1700 North Moore Street, Suite 2000 (20th Floor)
     Arlington, VA 22209
     T: 703-527-8300
     F: 703-527-8383