Children who were making a living working on the streets now contribute to their family budgets by weaving rugs and kilims, designing jewelry or manufacturing purses and similar items.
Children at risk for drug abuse and becoming involved in criminal activities are now also able to afford their school expenses.
The center has so far offered rehabilitation, counseling, professional training, daycare and kindergarten services to about 16,000 individuals.
Three years ago the Şahinbey District Office of the Governor took a step for the children working on the streets. The center sponsored by the office of the governor offered work opportunities for 964 children at high risk. At the center, the children have learned different skills and professions, ranging from jewelry design to rug weaving.
Families of these children who migrated from rural areas to the cities have been able to adapt to their new life through different programs and training sessions. Forty rug-making platforms were purchased with the sponsorship of the Şahinbey District Office of the Governor Social Assistance and Solidarity Association, and these were installed in the houses of carefully selected families. The children who started weaving rugs with their families can now also afford their own schooling expenses and basic housing expenses, including electricity and water. Children who were trained at the center also obtained well-paid jobs over the summer. The center, launched to serve 100 children working on the streets, is getting a great deal of attention. More than 300 children are on the waiting list expecting admission to the center.
Rabia İnan weaves rugs at home with her daughters, Çiğdem and Nergis. The two platforms assigned to the family have become a new start for İnan, whose husband has been unemployed for nine years due to illness.
İnan says she and her daughters are working hard to raise her five children. İnan, who notes that her only wish is to be able to earn a living, says she is grateful to Şahinbey District Governor Ali Çınar and the center authorities for their help.
Çiğdem İnan, who is a student at Mehmet Rüştü Uzel Industrial Vocational High School has a sparkle in her eyes as she speaks. Noting that her family can now afford their schooling expenses from weaving rugs, Çiğdem says she is working hard so that she can become a chemist.
İnan says: “My only wish is to be a good and useful person for my country and for our people through the profession I take. May God bless those who gave us this opportunity.” Her sister Nergis, an eighth grader, says she wants to be a teacher someday.
Noting that 215 children and parents have finished the rug weaving training course, social services specialist Adil Şiraz from the Rehabilitation and Training Center for Child Street Laborers noted that 40 families were given a rug-weaving platform for use in their homes. Şiraz, who also stresses that they ensure that the families and the traders meet, noted that the center also offers rehabilitation services in an attempt to minimize the social problems for migrant families. Şiraz notes that these families, which are under great risk, are observed and supervised on a regular basis.
The families currently manufacture small rugs, Milas carpets and car cushions, says Şiraz, adding that they will also receive special orders for customized items.
Noting that the project is considered sustainable, Şiraz also mentioned another project that the Social Assistance and Solidarity General Directorate has in the works. “We have prepared another project for the early development stage of these children,” he said. “We seek to ensure the motor, cognitive and social development of 161 children.”