Bringing the Power of Photography to Turkey
HELPING KIDS TURN THEIR IMAGE OF THE FUTURE INTO REALITY.
It was 2009, and the Club, in partnership with the Rotary Club of Istanbul-Bayrampasa, spread the gift of photography— a Rochester area specialty— to school children in Umraiye, Turkey, an impoverished outskirt of Istanbul. Rochester has been exporting photography to the world for a long time, and with this project exported it in a new way.
The project called “4 Schools – 40 Students” included the Clubs donating 10 digital cameras, one computer, one color printer and one projector to each of four primary schools in the town in early 2009. Additionally, the program included the services of a professional photographer to conduct classes at the schools. The goal of the project was to increase kids’ interest in school in general, and the arts in particular. And along the way help them
discover new skills that could lead to a career that would last a lifetime.
The Rotary Club of Brighton has had a long
relationship with the Bayrampassa-Istanbul Rotary Club and have done several joint projects. A relationship that began when Suleyman Girit, Past President of the Rotary Club of Istanbul, visited Rochester several times a year over
a 15-year period. Girt and Peter Schwarz, Past President of the Rotary Club of Brighton, coordinated this project and obtained funds from both clubs, supplanted by a matching grant from the Rotary International Foundation.
As part of the project, the two Clubs also exchanged visits. In September 2008, 10 Rotary families from Istanbul were home hosted by Brighton Rotarians. The return “Friendship Exchange,” with Peter & Elaine Schwarz and Larry & Carole Wetzel attending from Brighton, was made to coincide with the conclusion of the project— the judging of the photos, an awards ceremony and photo exhibition.
This project really fit in with the Rotary theme for 2009, which was “make dreams real.” At a time when in their lives when they dream big, this gave these students something to build the future they dreamed of.