Local youngsters in the poorer communities of Fethiye are benefiting from the dream of a retired Turkish man which has now been realized – with a little help from the 3C’s.

Just before Christmas, Öznur Goktas, owner of the Nil Bar in Çalış, introduced Peter Clark, Chairman of the Çalış based children’s charity to a retired Turkish gentleman Yaşar Erkimen and his wife Arzui .

Yaşar told him about his dream to start a small English learning Centre to give free extra tuition to the poorer youngsters in the Günlükbası/Catalarik area to help them improve both their English reading and speaking skills in order for them to find work more easily, particularly in the local tourism industry, and to have a better start in life.

These children, some of whom are bright but whose parents are unable to afford to pay for extra tuition for them, would be able to attend the learning centre outside of their normal school hours.

He hoped to begin by helping 10 children but eventually hopes that this will increase to 40 or 50 children

The kind-hearted couple who had moved into an apartment near to the “old men’s corner” close to the wedding circle in the Günlükbası area of Çalış, had already taken the first step to fulfilling Yaşar’s dream by renting the empty shop and apartment on the ground floor of their building which they saw as an ideal location for the learning centre and which they were funding from their own pocket

The premises needed a lot of work and redecoration to make it suitable for the purpose but Yaşar was willing to do all of the work himself but he did need help with equipping it with furniture and books.

Öznur suggested he ask the 3C’s if they were able to help in any way.

The 3C’s committee felt that this was a very worthwhile project which could really benefit the local youngsters and agreed to help if they could, but first the centre needed the approval of the Director of Education and Governor of Fethiye.

After meetings between FETAV, the Millieğitim (Director of Education) Yaşar and the charity, the project was finally approved and the 3C’s agreed to purchase new desks, chairs and whiteboards for the centre as well as committing to pay the rent on the premises for the first year, whilst it became established.

Whilst Yaşar got busy cleaning and painting, the new desks, chairs and a whiteboard were ordered for the two classrooms and a second-hand television was kindly donated to the centre by a 3C’s supporter. The 3C’s also provided a donated DVD player. English language DVDs and some English reading books which had been dropped off at the 3C’s charity shop. These books now form the start of a small reading library.

As well as the two completed classrooms, there is a small kitchen, a bathroom and a further room at the rear of the premises which when decorated, will eventually become a third classroom/ reading room. Yaşar eventually sees the centre, not only as a place of learning, but as “drop in” centre where the youngsters can drop in for a drink and a chat as well as borrow a book from the library.

A fortnight ago the Centre opened its doors for the first time and 13 youngsters of various ages turned up to practice their English. Öznur who was instrumental in bringing Yaşar and the charity together, helped at this first session. There are now already 40 children registered at the centre and sessions are held most afternoons with two sessions on a Saturday

A Turkish teacher of English will also be helping Yaşar and his wife out from time to time, but Yaşar would dearly love for some of the local English community to get involved and help by sitting and talking to the children for an hour or two a week so that they get a chance to practice their English.

If you are interested in helping, please can you contact the 3C’s on 0536 373 9520 or email threecscharity@hotmail.com and they will pass on your contact details to Yaşar.

Also, the 3C’s are appealing for English story books for the centre, suitable for age 6 years and upwards. If anyone has any books to donate please can they drop them off at the 3C’s charity shop at the Eyna Restaurant on Çalış promenade.

They do not have to be new so long as they are in good condition and they will certainly help to build up the library.