It’s a Wednesday in late March and the weather is bright and sunny; it’s a perfect spring day and ideal for the table top sale being held at the Special Needs Learning Centre (Özel Eğitim İş Uygulama Merkezi). Lyn Ward went along with her camera and notebook…
The Centre, located opposite the main Türk Telekom office in Fethiye, opened a year ago. Managed by Müesser Yılmaz, the Special Needs Learning Centre caters for young adults between 16 and 23 years of age with a range of additional needs.
The programme concentrates on Life Skills, including cookery, artwork and vocational training at Engelsiz Kafe.
Changing the perspective
Engelsiz means unimpeded; not obstructed or hindered (Oxford English Dictionary) and is a term being used in Turkey to give confidence to youngsters with disabilities not to feel limited in or excluded from society.
An inclusive community project
Owned by Salih Çetinel, from the popular King’s Garden restaurant, Engelsiz Kafe occupies part of the centre’s grounds and provided a dynamic opportunity for the centre’s young adults to put their life skills into practice.
With this in mind, it gives the youngsters a great opportunity to have the experience of working in the café for short periods; they can work in the kitchen or wait at table, providing them with a safe environment to interact with members of the public.
What’s more, the Kafe has a simple but delicious menu at fantastic prices!!
For more information on Engelsiz Kafe please visit:
Raising awareness and funds
The stalls were manned by the students, teachers and helpers and included a variety of delicious home made foods and craftwork items all made by the pupils.
After wandering around the stalls and making their purchases, people sat around in the beautiful sunshine and chatted with friends, while drinking çay and enjoying Gözleme prepared by local volunteers.
The Fethiye Director of National Education, Hasan Doğan and Fethiye Mufti, Oğuzhan Kadıoğlu also attended along with Sheila Tongue, the Chairman of FIG and other committee members.
FIG and the Üzümlü Charity Group (working with Salih) have recently funded an extension to the school that now houses a dedicated cafe area for the children.