Recognizing that education is one of the most important problems in Turkey and that especially girls are deprived of educational opportunities, Milliyet Newspaper launched the social responsibility campaign titled "Dad, Send Me to School" in 2005 which is set to play an important role in the upbringing of future generations. The project endeavors to transform girls, half of the population, into productive individuals through education.
Launched on April 23, 2005, "Dad, Send Me to School" campaign promotes the extension of education mobilization throughout Turkey and to make sure that all girls enroll in school. Within this framework, after the obstacles concerning girls enrolling in schools were identified, a series of activities were organized to raise awareness as well as to provide financial support.
Hanzade Doğan Boyner, Chairperson of Doğan Gazetecilik, was the mastermind behind this comprehensive campaign. Many institutions supported the campaign by building dormitories and classrooms, and giving scholarships in 15 cities identified with the greatest need. Doğan Gazetecilik, also, contributed TRY 1 million to the campaign.
Throughout the six and a half years since the launch of the campaign, 33 dormitories and 11 elementary schools were constructed by various individuals and institutions. Also, 10,524 girls received educational scholarships and the Aydın Doğan Foundation supported the campaign by building five dormitories for girls.
In addition, training seminars for 500 parents were organized in five cities with the theme of "My Child and I" in collaboration with the Mother and Child Education Foundation (AÇEV); a two-day-long special training session was held for the administrators of Primary Regional Boarding Schools and Primary Regional Schools with Pension; Kamil Koç Busses sponsored the furnishing of the common areas in the dormitories and girls staying in dormitories were also offered music lessons.
Moreover, a platform for multilateral cooperation was formed with universities: students of the Social Awareness module at Sabancı University visited Kars Merkez Sabancı Dormitory for Girls and Sarıkamış Milliyet Dormitory for Girls; and, Işık University included a Social Awareness module in its curriculum and organized various activities at Mardin Milliyet Dormitory for Girls.
In cooperation with the Turkish Family Health and Planning Foundation, seminars on hygiene and health were organized for female students staying in the dormitories. Also, one-week-long training programs were organized annually in Istanbul for administrators and teachers of the dormitories on topics like puberty, dormitory management, communication skills and budget management.
The newspapers within DYH also played a role in creating public opinion and raising social awareness. The articles published in our newspapers were influential in finding solutions to structural problems like the appointment of female directors to dormitories for girls and the revision of scholarship regulations.
As a result of the educational workshops organized, the problems with regard to education were brought into Turkey's agenda, solutions were offered to girls to continue their education; the outcomes of these workshops were shared with the public and the authorities at the Ministry of National Education.
Numerous individuals and institutions eagerly support the "Dad Send Me to School" campaign ranging from school children who donated their pocket money to Limak Holding who constructed a dormitory, from Hacı Ömer Sabancı Foundation to governorships, from the Turkish Union of Chambers and Commodity Exchanges to Petrol Ofisi who granted scholarships, the Turkish Economy Bank, the Metro Group, Garanti Bank, Enka Foundation, Oriflame and Siemens.
Institutions including the Association for Supporting Contemporary Living (ÇYDD), Turkish Association of University Women (TÜKD), Turkish Family Health and Planning Foundation and Mother and Child Education Foundation (AÇEV) as well as the Ministry of Education and local authorities actively support the campaign.
YThe fact that the campaign turned out to be a major mobilization and that 300,000 individuals made donations and that more than 34 million TRY was raised through donations are clear indications that the campaign profoundly appealed to the Turkish public.
It is estimated that the added value of the campaign is even more and that the number of girls enrolled in schools is even higher than estimated as families inspired by news articles may have decided to enroll their daughters in school. Another contributing factor is that school administrators who participated in the training programs, paid visits to many villages and urged families to send their daughters to school.