Over 17% of the 73 million people living in Turkey are affected by some type of mental or physical disability. In Turkey, many believe that if a child is born with a disability then he/she is cursed or is carrying a family curse; divine retribution has been visited upon the family because of some wrong-doing by a parent or grandparent. This belief stigmatizes not only the child, but also all the relatives. Ways to remain honorable in this society include hiding the child in a back room of the house, sending him/her away to an institution, or abandoning the mother and child to survive on their own.
Kardelen Mercy Teams is committed to showing love to this large population of children and young adults in Turkey with the medical and physical support needed to allow them to live lives of purpose and joy. They provide emotional, spiritual, educational, and some financial support to children, young adults, and mothers who are profoundly impacted by disability and poverty. They have some Community Outreach Teams (Mercy Teams) who go into homes to assess need, train, and give spiritual and emotional support to 166 families in the Ankara region. This would include 46 refugee families and Turkish families who have a special needs child, 30 families who are involved with their School Project and 85-90 families that are involved with Kardelen thru the cancer hospital.
Kardelen Mercy Teams assess the ongoing needs of children with disabilities and determine what equipment would be of greatest benefit to them. Funds donated to the Mercy Team will include their annual salary, insurance, transportation and minimum supplementary supplies where needed (food packets, diapers, heating supplies, and prescription medicines). The Mercy Team training and monitoring empowers each family. It reduces the intensity of care for the parents and siblings while enabling the child to become a real member of the family.
The Kardelen Transportation project increases their ability to serve families who need transportation for medical visits and participation in group training. Funds for this project were used to purchase a van with a 3-wheelchair capacity. This van extended the geographic reach by as much as 30 miles and added approximately 60 home and/or hospital visits due to increased capacity.
Wellspring International had the privilege to begin supporting Kardelen Mercy Teams in 2013 with funds towards nine custom built wheelchairs along with their individualized treatment. For the past few years, Wellspring International provided funds to support their Mercy Teams. For this upcoming year, Wellspring International aims to provide $61,885 to assist in salaries, transportation costs and administration costs for their Mercy Team.
Please contact us for more information regarding this significant project.
“Aerodynamically the bumblebee shouldn’t be able to fly, but the bumblebee doesn’t know that so it goes on flying anyway.” Mary Kay Ash
KARDELEN MERCY TEAMS
September ’13 – Present