Hayat Sende strives to reduce the exclusion of children from mainstream society, which is the most common problem for children who leave institutional care in Turkey. Founded by young professionals who were brought up in care themselves, Hayat Sende identifies and promotes new innovative solutions for children under the legal care of the government. Meet their Networks and Platforms Unit Coordinator Sultana Erbas.

Tell us about your role at Hayat Sende:
I have been working as the Networks and Platforms Unit Coordinator for more than two years now and am responsible for coordination between Hayat Sende and its partners through national and international networks and platforms. For the last year I have also been project managing the ‘Runners Toward the Future’ mentoring project, which provides mentoring for university students living in state care in Ankara.

What are the main challenges facing the children and young people you work with?

Children and young people who have been raised in care are stigmatised against in different aspects of their lives, including the language people use about them and the general approach of society towards them. What are you most looking forward to in the next year as a member of Family for Every Child? I am personally looking forward to having more active dialogue with all members of Family, to learn more about their work and to become involved in more joint projects. Of course, as Hayat Sende, we are also looking forward to hosting the Assembly of Members in Istanbul in September!

Tell us something we don’t know about Turkey?

Turkey is the birthplace of many historical figures: the biblical Abraham, the poet Homer, St. Paul the Apostle, the storyteller Aesop, and the father of history, Herodotus. Also Santa Claus was born in Turkey!

How do you like to spend your spare time?

I am a big fan of world cinema and film festivals so I mostly watch movies in different languages and from different countries. I also like juggling, which people may remember from the Assembly in Guatemala! Tell us something interesting about your family. My family gave me and my two sisters Arabic names, which is very common in Turkey. They wanted to choose names starting with “S” but it turns out that these three names have different “S” letters in Arabic, which is funny for me!

What is your vision for children and families in Turkey?

It is pretty much the same as Hayat Sende’s and Family for Every Child’s; I imagine a world where all children can grow up in a safe and loving family environment.