2 – 16 Eylül 2001, Mordoğan


Conceptual Framework

In Turkey, there is a gap between young people of same age in terms of sharing the prosperity and the “European Standards” at present. The main cause of this inequality is joining the workforce at early age. While one group is studying and creating their own social environment with different friendships and hobbies, the other group with long working hours of poor standards and limited human relationships of their age, lack of spare time is surrounded totally in a different world.

Our previous studies revealed that child workers are close friends with each other only. On the other hand, students are friends within their own circles. Therefore, a gap is formed between the two groups which could be defined as an exclusion stemming from social and economic problems.

The above mentioned groups exhibit distinctive characteristics which progressively set them apart, causing different agendas and expectations, and lack of communication. This is a fact not only within young people, but it might raise several problems in future as the citizens of the same country.

The young workers either do window-shopping, walk idle or watch TV at their limited spare time. Very few of them enjoy sports as pass time, mostly limited to soccer and karate.

Working youth have the right to learn more, enjoy life, and improve themselves as much as the students of same age. They should also enjoy team-building or take part in team games, sharing with and supporting each other. They should be aware of their rights and should form the habit of getting together with their peers to make them a reality.

One of the main social risk factors of the young workers is “by-passing their age” and trying to be an adult prematurely. They have to quit their youth identity since they are obliged to work with older people. This role conflict leads them to isolation, stress, and even addiction ( smoking, alcohol consumption etc.).

One of the specific indicators of adolescence is psychological stress. Environmental and social factors might cause sense of distrust and create reactive behaviour. Obligation to work is a further social pressure in itself. These reactive behaviours such as fear, anxiety, anger, disappointment, and psychological disturbances are amplified among young people who have low self-esteem because of inadequate standards of living. The contribution of formal educational institutions is a must for personality development and identity formation for social adaptation. Besides, model-building projects should be developed for opportunity-handicapped groups.

Young workers should at least throughout their paid annual vacation period “live their lives” and be introduced to “the standards that their peers experience”.

The sports activities are means for appropriate utilization of physical energy. Furthermore, sports act as a preventive factor against dangerous habits.

Fair play is one of the most important character aspects acquired through sports and is a tool for identifying individuals possessing leadership potential. This is a role for participative model rather than an authority issue for hierarchical structure.

Child and young workers are not fully aware of the above mentioned contemporary values and principles due to inadequate training opportunities, long working hours, and insufficient spare time activities. This reality adversely affects their present and future lives.

Among working children, the vacation period is at least one month for the ones who are apprentices and 12 days for the others. Whatever the legal situation is, researches reveal that these vacations are used as unpaid or the paid annual vacation of child and young workers is mostly limited to one week only. Improving and changing the the yearly vacation is an important opportunity for introducing young workers with “having sufficient spare time activities”, “living their childhood”, and “the standards that their peers experience”


This short but intense program will give to the target population who could not live their childhood, a chance to get acquainted peers’ standards and assist them to develop stabile personality through team games. This project will a great opportunity to add value to their pass time.

Target Population

Target population of the project is working boys and girls of 15-17 years old. This population is working full time after quitting their education.


  • The basic outcomes of such as an intervention programme are :
  • The sharing and support… The child and young workers shall be able to experience the joy of sharing and supporting each other, most probably for the first time in their lives. This can only be done only by sharing more friendly atmospheres during their childhood and adolescent ages
  • The human rights can only be learned through real-life experiences, not by reading books or through speeches. The participants will enjoy the opportunities that they never tasted before. It will be told to them that this is their right as a child and a young person.
  • Experiences and knowledge gained no doubt will enable the target population in the future to be positive role models for their society as employers, syndicate leaders, or as representative of their communities.
  • This personal achievement will certainly influence not only their own health, future and improvement of their personalities, but also the society’s communication skills and democratic way of living positively.


10 male and 10 female apprentices that felt themselves favoured compared to their work mates enjoyed the holiday of a week, the girls at 2-9 September and the boys at 9-16 September 2001.

  • Fisek Institute Science and Action Foundation for Child Labour put the campaign of “Holiday fun of the apprentices” into practice by the contributions of
  • The European Youth Foundation affiliated with European Community (EYF) and

Turkish Women’s Association of Collaboration and Survive of our Culture at Heilbronn and Neighbourhood (Kultur-und-Wohltatigkeits verein Türkisher Frauen in und um Heilbronn e.v.).

We thank these two foundations that made such a sharing of favour possible.

We also want to thank the following:

  • Professor Emin Ergen, *Giyasettin Demirhan and Can Fisek for their contributions to the theoretical and practical concept of the project,
  • The Confederation of Turkish Employers’ Unions for their support for our research about the thoughts and expectations of the apprentices at Ankara Vocational Education Centre and The 4th Evening-School for Arts and Trades,
  • The participant students of Ankara University Political Sciences Faculty Labor Economy and Industrial Relations Department that joined this study,
  • The employers letting their apprentices go to holiday and have a different vision as we have had some apprentices who could not join the campaign just for they were not let by their employers,
  • Ministry of National Education General Directorate of Apprenticeship and Diffused Education Ankara Vocational Education Centre and The 4th Evening-School for Arts and Trades as five male and two female apprentices joined the campaign were from Apprenticeship Education Centre,
  • Seçil Erciyas, Arzu Uyar, Yasin Gündogan as our guides,
  • Our volunteers,
  • Managements of the Ayisigi Motel at Izmir Mordogan, and Mimas Hotel at Izmir Karaburun for their treating the apprentices with extreme devotion.


We had already had interview (consisting of a questionnaire) with the apprentices (boys and girls) in spring about their expectations and how they perceived the holiday, how long they can have a paid vacation. This interview has been a very helpful guide in planning our studies. For instance, although we had planned to realise it at the forests of Bolu the great expectations about the sea, sand and the swimming lead us to the seaside.

It was the first time that the apprentices saw the sea. Except some kids who have been to the river or lake, non had seen the sea or had a sea-bath. None knew how to swim except an inexperienced one. However, all had a style and learned to swim but one who was late to overcome the water fear and so learned very little.

They said that they enjoyed so much that they could not expect it at the beginning, even one could not even find time to touch the book he brought with him. On the other hand, in order to recognise themselves or the environment they joined the informative discourses associated with a slide show in some cases.

While making new friendships and sharing the dreams this holiday influenced their vision and future expectations significantly. Holiday plans for the next years, sharing the phone numbers and looking for to meet again proved once more that the continuity of a project depended on taking it serious and the motivation of the individuals.

Some of the children who had the experience of living gratis and eating as much as they wanted for the first time in their lives, were not interested in outdoor activities as they had always been walking from their home at the suburbs to their work at the centrum due to their inadequate salary.

They played all the games they could remember such as fireball, basketball, badmington, table tennis, rope jumping and the card games. Among them, there were lots who did not know and have learnt these games at the holiday.

On Saturday, they calmed down thinking that they’ll start working on Monday. Some lost in thought some refused to play excusing.

Just like adults.

Some local people were interested in the group of children when gone to the seaside or to have a cup of tea or ice cream. They asked curiously which school they were. Then, it was once obvious that it was only the students that profited such favours. They looked senseless and did not understand it at all when they were told that “These are not the students but the working children.”

Just like they were living at the twilight zone.

These sad and deeply grieving scenes also made us think that this procedure should be continued with new apprentices. Beginning the preparations and the concurrence in winter we must start at a point over zero the next summer. We must liven up the discourses with more illustrations. But first of all, we must lead more sources to “the holiday pleasure of the working children” and more volunteers participate.

We also wait for you.


Gender problems should be also be added to the discrimination between the students and the working children. When the stress and the limitations of the customs and traditions are considered this holiday has been much more than a “pleasure” but also a “dream” as they said.

These girls has also duties at home after the work. They were expected to overcome the home works as ironing, washing the dishes and house cleaning. The boys may be watching television, playing with their friends or hanging around with their friends at their spare time. But, spare time means sleep for the girls.

They can only watch television on Sundays. However, they do not have a chance to choose the channel or program of their own taste as the choice of the father or brothers are more important. They have also got the remote control.

The most frequently sentence the working girls said have been “oh… neither my dad nor my brother are here.” After two days we have not heard of them any more. It seems as if they do not want to allow this nightmare to enter their dream. Father and brothers are equal to pressure for them.

The hopelessness of the girls about the future and the very limited dreams are other important differences between the working girls and boys. Because, their future has already been defined. They will get married and have children. All say, “I don’t want a husband shouting, coming late, drinking and gambling as my father.” and add “I don’t want to have too many children as my mother either.” and shut up after. They all seem to be worried. “Here’s what we want but we don’t even choose our husbands.” says one of them. The other adds, “I want two children. However, is there anything I can do about it?”

During the holiday we talk about their body, birth control, their legal rights as women and individuals, hygiene and drawbacks of the relatives’ marriage.

We watch their first experience of putting on a swimming gear, feelings and manners, clinging to the borders of the pool and a few days later, crawling at the sea they have never seen before.

We would like you to see their excitement and enthusiasm while untying the presents they won at the games as fireball, chairball, tombola and volleyball.

The girls become sad at the last day of the holiday. Just like the working boys. However their sadness is not only just because they will begin work but also because they will not be able to enjoy such a freedom again.

“We will always keep these shorts, swimming gear and presents”, says one. “We know each other’s phone numbers. We gather and have fun again one day”, says another. The group becomes silent. One says, “How nice it would be. But my parents don’t let me.” The others approved with their heads. Then they start talking all at once as if agreed:

– We are very lucky. We had unbelievable days. That will do.
– I pinched myself when I first came. I thought that I was dreaming.
– May be, you take us here again.
– Don’t be selfish. The other working girls must also experience it.
– She’s right. They must also have a memory to tell all through their life.
– Hey girls, this is last day. Let’s have fun until the morning.

They could not have fun until the morning. However, it was about 3 a.m. when they went to bed. Even this meant morning to them.

The girls said that they would tell all they have learnt and lived to their friends. They said, “May be, you can not take all the girls to holiday, they may hear from us at least.”

The departure was hard. However, is not every departure hard for us an unforgettable instant of life?