Volunteer Stories: How Istanbul&i made me fall in love with Istanbul

One of Istanbul&i’s dear volunteers, Fateme.

Fateme has been volunteering with Istanbul&i for almost one year. Here she shares her story of getting involved with our projects and how Istanbul&i’s welcoming atmosphere helped her see another side of Istanbul.


I moved to Istanbul in the autumn of 2015 where I didnt know anyone. A year and half passed by until a new friend told me about the Unaccompanied Minors Dormitory project. The project provides English and Turkish languages learning support for refugee teenagers who have also come to Turkey alone. I started going to the classes and meetings related to the project and that’s how I started knowing the volunteers of Istanbul&I.


Fateme and other Istanbul&i volunteers at our partner organization Çorbada Tuzun Olsun to distribute meals to those in need.


People I met in I&I are the greatest people I’ve met in the city. These people who are absolutely amazing, smart, and lovely, volunteer whenever they can to help the community and these refugees. I’m still amazed by these volunteers’ compassion, love and effort they offer without any expectation in return. Beside the part that we have a chance to help these people in need, the community provides wonderful opportunities such as events , workshops, talks, 4 different speaking clubs and so much more.


When I started going there as often as possible my life started changing a lot. Meeting new people from different countries and cultures and seeing how they devoted themselves to this NGO gave me another perspective of people who live in Istanbul. The reason why this community made me feel included is very simple and rare at the same time, the people in Istanbul&i do not use labels to define people like the rest of society. Istanbul&i has been like a family and that’s why Istanbul feels like home.


By Fateme Babollahzade

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