As an Armenian American living here in Turkey, I want to tell you about a group of largely forgotten Armenian kids here in Istanbul.
I'm talking about the children of workers from Armenia, young boys and girls whose parents have come to Turkey to find jobs, but who don't have official documentation.
They want to learn, they deserve an education, but they need our help.
The problem is that these largely invisible kids have fallen through cracks in the system. Turkish law prohibits "undocumented" children from attending either public school or minority status Turkish-Armenian schools.
The good news is that there is a solution.
Wonderful Armenians - friends of mine - are running a remarkable school - the Gedikpasa "Hrant Dink" Armenian School in Istanbul - offering year-round educational services for these forgotten families. This school, the only one of its kind, provides a safe and nurturing educational environment for approximately 150 children from Pre-School through 8th grade.
The kind souls running this small school are caring as the children they serve.
They operate out of a church basement. Underfunded and overcrowded, the 7th and 8th graders don't have classrooms and are taught while sitting in the pews of the chapel. Funding for 14 teachers, a great cook and a kind janitor come from tuition, paid by families barely able to make ends meet. They simply can't do it on their own.
Please open your heart for these forgotten children. Every penny you can give will go directly to the School, and make a real difference in the lives of these students.
Help us defray the cost of school lunches ($700 a week), dishwasher detergent ($70 a month) or buy the six blankets we need for pre-schoolers to use during naptime. We also need two laundry drying racks, a clothes dryer, three security cameras, three microphones, beginner English-language learning CDs, cleaning supplies, kitchen equipment, educational toys and just about anything else a simple school requires.
I will be visiting the school often and will make periodic updates. Thank you so much for your support!
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