“I discovered my inner world thanks to the My Sister Project. It turns out that there is another Hülya, and I found her. There was a world I kept in my palm, and this project helped me bring it in the open...”
Hülya Türkaslan, 24, is one of the nearly 1,000 women who credit the “My Sister” project with changing the course of their lives. She became involved with the My Sister Project because she was having trouble setting herself on the right path to realize her dreams after graduating from Ardahan University. The project boosted her self confidence.
“Behind every successful woman, there must be herself,” says Hülya (pictured above), adding that she can better plan for the future better. “I will always smile, and there will always be a bird flying in my heart. I learned how to look at the sky. I feel the steps I take, that I exist, and I will get to know myself even better from now on.”
The My Sister Project, which has made a considerable difference in the lives of Hülya and many others like her, is part of the 5By20 initiative launched by The Coca-Cola Company with the goal to economically empower 5 million women entrepreneurs by 2020. My Sister, open to all literate women age 18 to 55 across Turkey, delivers training that helps women improve their individual and social lives, develop themselves, and gain competence. The project, implemented by Coca-Cola in collaboration with local governments and the Boğaziçi University Lifelong Education Center in Kayseri, Malatya, Gaziantep, Trabzon, İzmir, Adana and Sakarya provinces, provides personal development, financial literacy communication, social media, and professional etiquette training.
The My Sister Project has touched nearly 1,000 women, to date, including ladies from a variety of backgrounds, including housewives, engineers, entrepreneurs and university students.
Ömür Karabay is one of the hundreds of women who follow their dreams. She discovered the My Sister Project while researching entrepreneurship after deciding to turn her photography hobby into a career. “In my job, my senses had to be on all the time, and the best thing this project gave me was that it taught me how I had to keep my channels more open in relation to perceptions," she said.
Today, women manage 70 percent of household expenses and control $20 trillion in global consumer spending. Women represent an economy larger than that of the United States, China and India combined, and their increased participation in the economy results in economic growth and healthy communities.
Another woman introduced to the My Sister Project, Ayfer Dağdeviren, said she shares what she learned with anyone in her kith and kin, who she believes would benefit. “I shared what I had learned with my daughters, sister and daughter-in-law," she said. "Although they had not attended the training, I helped them indirectly capitalize on it. I am very pleased to have taken part in this project. Thus, both I and the people close to me benefitted from them.”
Merve, a university student who heard about the project from her mother, says this was a first for her and expressed her pleasure with the experience. “I was very touched by the examples given by our trainers from their own lives throughout the training," she said. "I am hoping I will also have such a nice success story.”
My Sister has provided more than 200 hours of training in seven provinces with 17 local stakeholders. The initiative has covered 12,000 km and will continue to travel across Turkey, touching the lives of hundreds of women and driving change in their lives.
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