On the 17th of August 1999 a huge earthquake measuring 7.4 hit the heavily populated region of Izmit in Turkey leaving 17,000 people dead, and 44,000 injured. The epicentre was very close to the town of Gölcük.
Over 5000 people fled Gölcük for the safety of neighbouring small towns and villages. This massive influx of people placed enormous pressure on the resources of the little town of Yazlik. The Tabosan Yazlik Primary School could not accommodate the 60 children of primary school age who had migrated to the town.
A local troupe of young national dancers entertained those assembled for the ceremony
In partnership with the International Blue Crescent (IBC), Islamic Relief built an extension to the existing school to meet the needs of the extra students. Work on the extension began in December 2002, and despite heavy snow falls it was completed in record time on the 17th of March 2003.
The school extension includes a nursery section for 30 children, two classrooms each of which can comfortably accommodate 15 students - and a science laboratory.
Open at Last
On Wednesday 2nd April Tabosan Yazlik Primary School’s new extension was officially inaugurated by the Governor of Izmit Province, Ahmet Arabagi, Islamic Relief representative, Safiya O'Donnell, and IBC President, Recep Üker.
Other guests included the Governor of Gölcük, the Regional Director of the Ministry of Education, the Mayor of Yazlik and most importantly the students of Tabosan Yazlik Primary School and their parents. A prize-winning troupe of young national dancers provided entertainment at the ceremony.
A nursery class at Yazlik Primary School
Importance of Education
In their speeches the President of IBC, the Governors of Izmit and Gölcük, the Mayor of Yazlik and the Ministry of Education representative all expressed their deepest thanks to IR for funding this project.
Safiya O’Donnell, IR’s representative, spoke of how the catastrophe in 1999 had shocked and saddened the people of Britain and moved IR donors to give what donations they could to relive the suffering of the people of Gölcük.
"As the Holy Qur’an places great emphasis on the importance of education, it is highly appropriate that the surplus money donated was used to build an extension to the school - thereby ensuring a better quality of education for the children of Yazlik," she said.