Zeytin Çekirdekleri Association
The foundation of the “Zeytin Çekirdekleri Social Responsibility Program” was laid in May 2014, with the leadership of the Ayvalık Municipality, in collaboration with the Ayvalık District Governorate, Ayvalık District Directorate of National Education, and volunteers.
In January 2015, the establishment of the “Zeytin Çekirdekleri Association” helped institutionalize the program and strengthened the volunteer mobilization and communal structure.
The objective of this program is to provide music, art, and sports-based education for primarily socioeconomically disadvantaged children and youth living in Ayvalık and surrounding villages, aiming to foster their personal, social, and societal development.
The goal here is to help children and youth discover their talents, utilize their imagination, and reach artistic results within a working discipline. Thus, even if they pursue different professions, they will become individuals who are more conscious, tolerant, empathetic, culturally rooted, with healthier decision-making mechanisms, aesthetic perspectives, and amateur spirits for the future.
Through the unity established by the Zeytin Çekirdekleri Association, art will create unity and peace, promote greater participation in the arts, and lay the foundations for a happy society by providing art and sports education to as many children and youth as possible.
Collaboration between civil society, associations, businesses, and the private sector is an integral part of the program. The involvement of many volunteers both as instructors and in operations has created a strong culture of cooperation and communal effort, playing a significant role in the rapid progress and development of the project.
The Zeytin Çekirdekleri Social Responsibility Program aligns with the principles of “Every child’s right to participate in artistic life” from the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child, which Turkey is a signatory to, as well as the International Children’s Rights Strategy Document and Action Plan 2013-2017 prepared by the Ministry of Family and Social Policies of the Republic of Turkey.
The olive tree has been a symbol of peace, equality, sacredness, and life since the dawn of human history. While it is not precisely known when it began to grow in the Mediterranean region, it has been regarded as sacred by people for a very long time. The name of the olive tree is frequently mentioned in the works of Homer and in ancient Egyptian papyrus scrolls. In the three sacred books, namely the Torah, the Bible, and the Quran, it has been defined as a symbol of purity, wealth, peace, strength, and beauty. The olive tree is like an “aged sage.” Just as the lines on the face of a sage increase as they age, the olive tree also develops more knots on its trunk as it grows older. Just as a wise person imparts their teachings to those around them as they age, the olive tree extends its tall branches upward as it grows. When its branches begin to bear olives, it bends down and offers its fruit, just like an artist bowing in response to applause!
The Zeytin Çekirdekleri Project was initiated with the philosophy that “every child should experience childhood, the most crucial period in human development, in a productive manner.” The aim was to create awareness through “art” in the lives of all children who participated in the project and to nurture them as budding idealistic artists. With the belief that a happy future starts in childhood, the project was named “Zeytin Çekirdekleri” (Olive Seeds) to signify “beautiful beginnings” for all.