In February 2016, Teymour Ashkan and 11 friends created what is now a strong community of 300 volunteers from over 61 countries.
“We met in the lobby of my building, discussed creating a storytelling platform and ended up working 8 hours straight on the concept. It was insane! We didn’t know where we were heading but we felt we had something there.” - Teymour, 24, volunteer coordinator at Istanbul&i, United States.
Soon afterwards, Ramadan started and the 12 friends became 25.
“For Ramadan, we collected money from our personal networks and went to Tarlabaşı [one of the most disadvantaged neighborhood in Istanbul] to share an iftar with the local population.” - Büşra, 25, pre-school teacher, Turkey
By the end of summer 2016, the community grew to nearly 100 members.
As the community was growing, opportunities for stronger impact arose. Inspired by the learning programs delivered in community centers over the summer, we designed language and art programs for disadvantaged children in Syrian community centers. We currently work with ASAM, Yusra Center, Qnushyo, and with the Syrian Scouts. Many of our members are displaced themselves, and we pride ourselves in their involvement in integration projects here in Istanbul.
After witnessing a lack of opportunities for the youth, we decided to set our first youth empowerment summit around the notion of Social Impact in December 2016. We bring together young peope interested in social impact with professionals from the field. In April 2017, we had our second summit, the Urban Thinkers Summit, a meeting of the minds on urban problems and solutions.
As more and more volunteers were joining us, we set up regular social events to build and strengthen our community. You can watch videos of our Meet&Great events, Comedy Nights and ÇayTalks.