Guney Hastemoglu (Season 02 - Episode 31)
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This Week’s Changemaker Guney Hastemoglu Fights to Prevent Juvenile Delinquency

 

On 9 June 2011 Sabanci Foundation's "Turkey's Changemakers" program hosts Guney Hastemoglu, a lawyer who established the Youth Re-autonomy Foundation of Turkey, the first foundation working on juvenile delinquency in Turkey.

 

According to the figures of the Ministry of Justice, there currently are 4.337 convicted or arrested women in Turkey’s jails. According to a public statement made by the Ministry of Justice, 444 of these women are accompanied by their children between the ages of 0 to 6. An estimated 479 children start their lives in jails despite not having committed a crime.

 

Today, many governmental organizations are being involved in helping women and children in jails. However, these women and children need close social and psychological support that goes beyond what is currently being offered. And this is where true Changemakers step in.

 

Guney Hastemoglu is 75 years old lawyer who spent her entire lifetime working for justice.

 

Witnessing innocent children being forced into committing crimes and their inability in adapting to life after being sentenced, Hastemoglu focused her attention to helping them. Along with friends, she established the Youth Re-autonomy Foundation of Turkey in 1992.

 

For several years, the foundation offered legal, social and psychological support to children that are being trialed or in prisons. While working with these children, Guney Hastemoglu and her friends realized that families were at the core of this issue. Having noticed that most of these children’s families also have a criminal record, they realized the need for educating families to truly solve this problem.

 

Realizing the need to work with families, Guney Hastemoglu and the foundation she established has developed a project called “Big Games with Small Steps” that is being supported by the Sabanci Foundation Social Development Grant Program. In order to prevent the juvenile delinquency, the project advocates for the rearrangement of women’s prisons for bettering the living conditions of children and women. This project will last for 12 months and its main goal is to reach 1.700 women, children and prison staff in 5 different women’s prisons across Turkey.

 

The Youth Re-autonomy Foundation of Turkey took on a journey to prevent juvenile delinquency many years ago. It has reached 4.000 children and trained another 600 volunteers who would work on his issue. Now, they have a diversified action plans to achieve their goal. While struggling to provide better living conditions for children that were forced to committing a crime, they also work for building a better future for women and children in prisons.

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