In January 2016, İGA started the Social Investment Program for the development of regions neighboring the airport. As part of the program, various social management efforts were carried out in the surrounding neighborhoods. Efforts included renovating schools and family health-care centers, meeting the basic needs of students lacking sufficient economic means, engaging in collaborative work for training programs for students, establishing interactive libraries, and encouraging local employment and vocational training.
In cooperation with Arnavutköy Tolga Eti Primary School and the Durusu Association of Roma Community, İGA also launched a project supporting Roma children, for which it received the award. In its first phase, the project uses artistic activities to increase the educational motivation of young people between the ages of 9 and 15 living in the area. Later phases include training sessions in English, art, and sports, including advanced-level training in collaboration with artists. This effort aims to ensure that Roma students have an opportunity to mix with people of different cultures and to receive higher education once they complete secondary school.
“The award has been a source of pride and motivation for us,” said Ülkü Özeren, Environmental and Sustainability Director at İGA. “We consider this decision to be proof of ownership displayed by young people in their own future as well as our cultural heritage and equal opportunities in education.” The award was given by the Junior Chamber International, a nonprofit, international nongovernmental organization for young leaders with more than 200,000 members in 128 countries. It has consultative status with the Council of Europe, with the Economic and Social Council of the United Nations, and with UNESCO.