Our Turkish Project 2011 -12
In February 2011, the Rotary Clubs of Dover joined forces with the Rotary Club of Guney in Adana in Eastern Turkey. We became partners in a Music Project for a State Orphanage. In Turkey the State supplies the home for the children, but there are no other funds to address the problems that the children have.
In the orphanage in Adana there are children who have been orphaned or abandoned by their parents. Many have been neglected, resulting in the children becoming reduced to begging, and exposed to alcohol and drugs. The result was that these vulnerable children have low esteem and lack confidence as well as lacking a sense of community. Some children are deaf, or mentally retarded and some have learning and speech disorders. The Rotary project was to supply the facilities and instruments within the orphanage for musical education. ‘Music can develop children cognitively, psychologically and emotionally and can enrich their imagination and creativity. Musical training can contribute to social skills and teamwork, and increase a sense of security and sense of community.’
The funding came as follows: Rotary Club of Guney: US$ 5,660, District 2430 (Turkey) US$ 2,500, Rotary Club of Dover $US 4,566, Rotary Club of South Foreland US$ 1,500, District 1120 (Kent & East Sussex) US$ 1,000 = total US$ 15,226.
The Principal of the Orphanage understood the children’s needs, and enabled the RC Guney to progress the project by supplying a special room for the music education. The Rotary funding supplied the decoration, furniture, storage, white board and of course the instruments. The RC Guney has arranged for musical tuition through the State University of Cukurova. Musical training started a few months ago when a children’s chorus was formed, with four training sessions a week . The children’s behaviour and results have immediately progressed in a very positive way.
By the autumn of 2011, the funding was complete for the room and the instruments. On 15th February 2012 there was an official opening ceremony. I was delighted, as President of the Rotary Club of Dover to attend the opening in Adana, and was accompanied by Christine Pike. Christine is the widow of Rotarian David Pike who was the International Chairman of RC Dover throughout this project, and who had been responsible for organising the fund raising. It was incredibly sad for us all when David died very suddenly in December 2011.
Meeting the Rotarians of the Turkish Club, being hosted in their homes and being treated like royalty was a wonderful experience for both Christine and myself, but the best was yet to come.
We attended the opening ceremony and listened to the children’s chorus. We watched in awe as a teacher led out the deaf girls dressed in wonderful traditional costumes , and they danced as if they could hear every note. As the instruments had only just been delivered, the drum band had only had tuition for 4 hours that week, yet their performance was magical.
The children’s enthusiasm was contagious, and the pride of Rotarians and the professional musicians in seeing their work progress was uplifting. Later that day, the musicians from the State University could not thank us enough for our help. Their vision is not just to use music as an aid to the children’s development, but also to supply the training for any gifted child to progress to a musical vocational – and change that child’s life. I know that I will never forget that afternoon – and I am immensely proud that the Rotary Club of Dover have been part of this project. ‘Rotary the World Over’ … will no longer be just a toast at the end of our weekly Club meeting … it is a phrase which has real meaning because we have been part of a project which shows that Rotary can change lives.
Rotary Club of Dover