In February 2016, Teymour Ashkan and 11 friends created what is now a strong community of 300 volunteers from over 50 countries. Originally envisioned as a storytelling platform bringing communities together in Istanbul, Istanbul&I grew to become the city’s first youth social impact group.
In Ramadan 2016, we collected donations from our personal networks to begin a program sharing Iftar with the disadvantaged populations of Tarlabaşı. Soon, we began implementing volunteer programs in Istanbul designed by members of our community in various community centers for displaced youth in Istanbul. These courses included digital literacy, English, Arabic, and environmental design. We sent our global volunteers straight to communities in collaboration with groups like Qnushyo, Yusra Center, and Okmeydanı Sosyal Yardımlaşma ve Dayanışma.
As we grew, our youth leadership began designing social integration programs targeted at promoting community, learning and awareness, and developing skills. Many of our programs are in our office in Karaköy, opened in November 2017, when we became a registered NGO in Turkey.
We give space to young people interested in creating social impact projects, giving back to the community, starting discussions on global issues, and developing their personal skills.