Start up meeting in Brussel

Section of Kurdish Studies of Jagiellonian University will take part in the project Ez mafe xwe dizanim (I Know My Rights) dedicated to support Kurdish youths in Turkey. The project is administared by the Kurdish Institute in Brussel and engage to other institutions Pro-Humanitate (Germany) and Kurdi - Der (Turkey). The start-up meeting took part in October in Brussel.


Kurdish youth in Turkey does not have the chance to get education in their own mother tongue. Decades of assimilation has severely endangered the use of Kurdish, but for 25% of the Kurds in Turkey Kurdish is their first language. This system reinforces the already existing economic and social inequalities between the Kurdish regions and Western Turkey and feeds the still very present discrimination against Kurds.


The lack of mother tongue education for Kurdish youngsters, not proficient in Turkish, is an almost unsurpassable obstacle, making any chance on social promotion through education impossible. The majority of youth that doesn’t speak Turkish comes from a disadvantaged socio-economic background, so the Turkish education system creates and maintains generation poverty.
In order to break this spiral Kurdî Der offers tutoring and homework classes in Kurdish. The work of Kurdî Der is not limited to the educational sphere but concerns the entire lifeworld of the youngsters. Due to lack of government support and the difficult social and political situation in which Kurdî Der operates, a professional and methodological framework is lacking. This is a problem for almost all youth initiatives in the Kurdish region.


This project wants to address this need for a methodological framework for Kurdish Youth work while at the same time sharing the Kurdish experience with other, European, youth initiatives by creating a Human Rights Education manual based on the context of youth in Diyarbakir, the largest Kurdish city in Turkey, which will be published both in Kurdish and English.


Over the course of two years the Kurdish Institute of Brussels will collaborate on the conception of this methodology with Kurdî Der, the Kurdish Studies department of the Jagiellonian University in Kraków and Pro-Humanitate, a youth ngo from Cologne. Each partner will approach the issues from their own field of expertise. There will be a special focus on the importance of mother tongue education, an issue on which we will keep several awareness raising activities (conference, reports, articles, …).


In order to gain sufficient insight in the practical needs and concerns of Kurdish youth we will organize a 2 week study visit to Diyarbakir with all partners. Two youth workers of Kurdî Der will be offered the chance to do a two month internship at a youth service in Belgium and Germany in order to reinforce their professional skills. Through the project there will be 4 transnational meetings to evaluate the progress of the project. We will finish with a large book presentation and conference in Brussels to raise awareness on the issue of Kurdish youth, mother tongue education and to present the methodology.