Kenan Zulaloglu (Season 02 - Episode 08)
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This Week's Changemaker; Kenan Zulaloglu Teaches for the Disadvantaged

On 2 December 2010 Sabanci Foundation's "Turkey's Changemakers" program hosts Kenan Zulaloglu, an educational volunteer who devotes himself to teaching disadvantaged students.

 

With 30 years of experience in education, Kenan Zulaloglu established a youth center in Istanbul. Mobilizing a team of volunteer teachers and collaborating with a sign-language teacher, Zulaloglu offers free tutoring classes to low-income students and students with hearing disabilities at the center. There is a sign-language teacher in the classroom who simultaneously translates between the teachers and the students.

 

In Turkey, as in many other countries, there is a widely acknowledged fact that is backed by both qualitative and quantitative statistics: Access to education determines opportunities in life. Youth who inherit economic disadvantages from their families have less access to education compared to their counterparts. So are youth with disabilities. Another way to look at the problem is that educational systems are not inclusive enough to provide for all students regardless of their backgrounds.

 

Establishing a youth center and leading a team of volunteer educators, Zulaloglu aims to fill the gaps in the Turkish education system. Working collaboratively with local governance bodies, civil society institutions and media, Zulaloglu reaches students whom education systems cannot reach.

 

"We are the ones who should be called people with disabilities unless we create accessible societies," Zulaloglu said on Dec. 3, International Day of People with Disabilities.

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