Under the leadership of Nevin Kucuk, Community Based Psychosocial Support and Research Association is founded in September19, 2014 in Izmir,Turkey. Founding members are comprised of the experts in the fields of psychology, psychoanalysis, social psychology, social services, economics and telecommunication. A committee comprised of academicians, engineers, a legal expert, a pscychiatrist, a finance specialists and officers from local authorities contributes to the association as an advisory committee. University students, social workers and individuals from every other segments of the society also contribute to the association as volunteers.There are a total of 31 members and 27 registered volunteers. As a freshly founded NGO, Community Based Psychosocial Support and Research Association does not have any source of income yet but it is a promising organization with a great potential and has already begun its efforts to inspire social transformation with the projects called Come out and Play and Sustainable volunteerism project.
Organization’s main goal is to create a sustainable social development and transformation by contributing both national and international policies to create a better world especially for the disadvantaged children, youth, women and people with disabilities. For this purpose the association aims to conduct and carry out viable projects, workshops, training programmes and visibility campaigns to stimulate social participation and sustainability. An other objective is to provide community based support activities. With a scientific stand point, individual and group consultancy practices will be provided for those who does not have access to main-stream psychological support and care services. An other objective is to stimulate and increase youth volunteerism for younger population to participate in various social projects and activities
Come Out and Play (Oyun Sokakta) is the first social awareness project of the organization. The purpose of the project is reanimate the traditional and forgotten childhood games to bring a breath of fresh air to the urban children who are stuck indoors and overwhelmed with computers, game consoles, smartphones, tablets and other technological tools. It is obvious that the children, especially in the urban areas, are increasingly became less physchially active and so to speak have forgotten what is to be a children. We believe that the children should be running, jumping, climbing trees and spend more time playing outside than they do at home. In this way their cognitive, physical and social development will be way more healthier. From this point of view, the project aims to create social awarness especially for the families, run visibility campaigns via posters, brochures, social media and internet. For the time being the project is at the research phase. A survey regarding most popular outdoor games is completed and a list of the games posted on our social media channels. The next steps of the project will be; publishing a booklet of most popular traditional outdoor games and public awareness and visibilty campaigns regarding outdoor childhood games. One of the outputs of the project will be a map shaped Turkey puzzle representing traditional outdoor games of each province respectively. The project’s essence and the puzzle model can be applied to any country as a good example. The final step of the project is to establish a mobile toy atelier. In this way specific days of the week kids will get together with their parents and under the supervision of artisans, they will desgn and make their own toys out of wood,plastic, metal and other materials.
An other project that we are currently involved is the Sustainable Volunteerism Project. By means of The Youth and Volunteerism project that we are going to initiate, young individuals will undertake responsibilities in foundation’s main activities and project management with respect to their qualifications and competencies. They will go trough a set of trainings, orientation programmes and monthly motivation meetings. In this way they will earn the neccessary experience and skills to take part in social projects and events. Eventually they wil form and manage their own social responsibility projects and create a chain of volunteers.
The last but not least, a work group comprised of our social and clinical psychologists, social workers, legal advisor and contact persons from local authorities is formed to work on a social project that involves with meeting the fundemental needs and prevention of the prejudice towards the Syrian refugees whom their number is rapidly increasing in Izmir area. Currently this project is at the inception phase and the first roundtable meeting is completed.
First of all, our association focuses on social and cultural issues from a community based perspective and as far as we know none of the NGOs and/or organizations in ALF’S Turkey network are embodies proffessionals from field of clinical and social psychology. In this respect we can bring a whole new point of psychological view to the social events and can contribute to the sociological research and analysis of any given sitiuation. As a matter of fact, amongst all the psycology-oriented NGOs, our association is one of a kind that solely focuses on community based sociological issues since other psychology-oriented NGOs only occupied with related seminars, workshops, training and education of their counterparts. Furthermore we believe that we would be a valuable partner when it comes to field applications of psychology for any social project that involves with social change and making a difference. Furthermore among our psychologists, we have disaster response and crisis management specialists who were formerly worked with International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Turkey and are planning to develop social projects that involve with disaster management and disaster prevention practices. Finally, our founder and psyhcologist Nevin Kucuk is a scholar at TUSEV’s pilanthropy and Sabancı University’s Social Invesment Programme. Needless to say these are the first two programmes that will train the Turkey’s pioneers in this field and we believe that having one of the 10 individuals in Turkey that is trained in this specific area falls under our umbrella is an asset and we would be more than happy to bring this expertise to the field for a brighter future.
ALF’s vision of supporting inter-cultral transactions, harmonization of different backgrounds and belief systems and most importantly contribution of intercultural strategy development, influencing decison makers and related institutions in Europe and Mediterranian region, displays significant similarities with our association’s objectives and goals.
Furthermore, given that our association’s programmes are focusing on social dialogue, education and youth, culture and art, peace and collaboration, morality and spirituality as well as cities and immigration; it’s cruical for us to be able to find and collaborate with partners and stakeholders from ALF’s network whether/or follow up the good examples in various social projects and actions.
As a side note, our founding member and project officer Doruk Yucel and our Youth and Volunteerism supervisor Atakan Avci has already participated in ALF’s PCM training and Individual Resource Development for NGOs training at TUSEV in September and October 2014 respectively, without being a member of the national network. We would like to benefit more from such opportunities to contribute our capacity building and work more efficiently for social change and transformation in return.