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Education Champion Network

Gamze Karadağ Koc

Former Vice President, Mavi Kalem Champion since 2017
“Every woman, every girl has a power in themselves. They just have to find it.”
Trained teachers to improve learning environments for Syrian refugees in Turkey's public schools

The Issue

About 37% of Syrian refugee children are out of school in Turkey. Refugee students often drop out of school because of bullying, discrimination and language issues. When teachers aren’t trained to provide psychosocial support to aid refugee students as they recover from their experiences in conflict and adjust to a new environment, they are more likely to abandon their education.

Gamze Karadağ’s approach

Community Advocacy

Gamze is an experienced advocate for women’s rights. During her tenure as vice president of Mavi Kalem, she led the organisation’s efforts to support women and children in emergency situations.

With her Malala Fund grant, Gamze worked with key education stakeholders, including the Istanbul Provincial Directorate of National Education (PDoNE) on a research project surveying 250 Syrian refugee students and teachers in order to determine how the government can better support them. Through research and advocacy meetings with public institutions, civil society organisations and research centres, Gamze advocated for PDoNE to apply the adapted Inter-agency Network for Education in Emergencies (INEE) Guidance Note on psychosocial support in educational institutions in Istanbul and at a national level. The model helps teachers better support the psychosocial well-being of Syrian refugee students so that they continue their education. Gamze also coordinated and managed the training of Turkish teachers in psychosocial support.

Gamze Karadağ’s impact

In cooperation with Istanbul PDoNE, Gamze and Mavi Kalem team researched what resources and support Syrian refugee students need in order to thrive in Turkish schools. To help improve refugee students’ classroom experience, Mavi Kalem adapted the INEE guidance note to the local context based on their research findings.

While an active Education Champion, Gamze helped train 85 teachers how to better support Syrian refugee students. Collectively, the teachers reached 11,714 students.

More about Gamze Karadağ

Website: Mavi Kalem
Twitter: @gmzkaradag
Organization's Twitter: @MaviKalem

There are 2 other Education Champions working in Turkey.