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New Step Site Project: New Step Women's Education And Culture Center

A project of the Foundation for Solidarity with Women (KADAV). Contacts: Zelal Ayman: zelala@hotmail.com; Melek Gündoğan; meleknnurlu@yahoo.com

This project was initiated following the 1999 MarmaraTurkey earthquake. Determined to render sustainability and institutionalize its efforts, WSF laid the foundations of “New Step Women’s Education and Culture Center” of Kocaeli-Kosekoy on August 18th, 2002.

The main aim of the project is to provide women education on a variety of subjects ranging from hairdressing to electronics, painting and computers so that they can engage in income generating activities. Workshops on candle production and textile alongside with a social center have been formed. Operating in a three storey building, the site also offers legal, psychological and health counseling to women. The most popular training courses has been those on reading-writing and courses for preparation for finishing primary school. Due to financial difficulties the social center has been closed in 2002, but the cooperative selling the products of women’s work is continuing. The most promising aspect of the project has been the self-esteem that women reported to have gained, their improvement in human relationships and gaining of economic independence.

The summary of the “New Step Site Project” provided for this sourcebook by WSF is given below by Zelal Ayman: zelala@hotmail.com.

“Our Center, a two and a half story building with 1600m²deployment area constructed on about three quarters of an acre owned by WSF, comprises classrooms for vocational and educational courses for women, practical training workshops, a Day Care Unit with 20 children capacity, for the benefit of women participating in courses and activities, a Cafeteria and Kitchen, Administrative Offices, a Library and Information-Documentation Room, Consultation Rooms, a Guesthouse, a Hairdressing and Derma Care Course Unit, and a Multi Purpose Hall built as a separate unit to accommodate various social, cultural and sports activities.

An Earthquake Resistant Structure in Harmony with its Environs
Our Building employs advanced technology yet its design concept has been one of avoiding the stereotypical and dull form of this technology and taking utmost care to create a structure in harmony with its users and the environing architecture. The building has been constructed in light of the fact that it stands in the earthquake zone. Seismic isolation, radian general base, steel construction, column endurance strengthening provisions, special chemical paints for corrosion prevention and fire resistance and most significantly the women’s spirit... We call it the Arc of Noah.

Programs Implemented at the Center
The New Step Women’s Education and Culture Center was opened in November 2003 with the participation of local women and its activities were launched in January 2004.

In accord with its goal and reason d’etre and in line with all its work, WSF takes special care to conduct its current and future vocational trainings with a perspective and approach that will contribute into the participating women’s ability to change and transform their own existing gender roles.

During the first semester of 2004, the Center offered a Vocational Training Program comprising Office Administration Courses (Computer, Accounting, Secretarial, English); and Basic Education comprising Literacy, Elementary School Diploma courses. Furthermore within the Consultation Support Program, Psychological Counseling, Legal Consultation and Health Consultation have been provided. One of the three stores on the building’s entrance floor has been allocated for the Hairdressing and Derma Care Course, which started as soon as the Center was opened.


The following courses and services will also be provided: Vocational Training Program comprising Office Administration Course, Retail Sales Staff Course, Stylistics Course, Hairdressing and Derma Care Course; Informative Education Program comprising Environmental Health and Food Hygiene Course, Cattle Farming Course, Disaster Preparedness Course; Training and Guidance for Work and Employment comprising Consultation Service, Women’s Entrepreneurship Course, Employment Field Research; Consultation Support Program comprising Psychological Counseling, Legal Consultation, Health Consultation and Women’s Human Rights Course."

 

Key words: Turkey, earthquake, KADAV, natural hazards, education/training, work