Fighting stigma in Turkey

4 Feb, 2021

Halil Ibrahim Uyar is Strategy and Coordination Unit Coordinator at Hayat Sende, our member in Turkey, where over a million children live either in single-parent households or separated from both parents. Halil was himself placed under legal protection by the Turkish Government, aged six, and spent eight years in institutional care. Boys and girls in care, and those leaving it, can face stigma and exclusion from mainstream society. Hayat Sende aims to reduce this by helping children develop their social skills, providing online mentoring and assistance, and promoting information on children’s rights and child protection.

How has your own childhood experience affected your work?

In care, I faced many different, senseless and uncontrolled care decisions, so I felt that I had to do something in this field. When I was in secondary school, I was Provincial Representative on the rights of the child at UNICEF for three years. After that, in college, I met with the Hayat Sende Association through their tuition scholarship. Hayat Sende supports youngsters in legal care with scholarships, mentorship and educational camps. These facilities played a huge role in improving my knowledge and understanding the different approaches in this field. I’ve now been working with Hayat Sende as Strategy and Coordination Unit Coordinator for six months and I’d like to continue to gain new knowledge of the child protection system.

What’s your vision for children and families?

I’d like for children and teenagers to grow up in a world where their rights are protected.

What have been the biggest challenges in your work so far?

In the child protection system, the biggest challenges are to improve the quality of care for children under legal protection, integrate them into life with an equal and strong footing, combat negative discrimination in the media and society, and defend their rights via lobbying and advocacy efforts.

Why do you find it valuable to be part of Family for Every Child?

Family for Every Child is a kind of roof to collect ideas, problems and solutions. As part of Family, I’m happy to be learning about international approaches and perspectives regarding the child protection system.


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