Fellow Since 2006
This profile was prepared when Naside Buluttekin was elected to the Ashoka Fellowship in 2006.
The New Idea
Naside works in neighborhoods that have large populations of Kurds who have been uprooted from their original homes. Poor and isolated, these districts have the highest crime rates in all of Turkey. Naside is going to the root of the problem, by reaching children before they become detached from their families and involved in crime. She is empowering displaced Kurdish women and their children to regain control over their lives at free, parent-led childcare centers, which provide a positive early environment for children at risk. Children’s early years are critical to their development as people, and Naside’s idea is based on the understanding that parents play a crucial role during that time. By involving mothers in formal childcare, she is strengthening families and communities in places where both have been undermined by poverty and instability. Her “Neighborhood Moms” program benefits families by providing a safe and nurturing environment for children and giving mothers both parenting resources and a sense of worth. In addition, Naside uses the centers to provide mothers with seminars on literacy, women's rights and reproductive health. These mothers then conduct outreach in their own communities, widening the effort to reduce crime amongst young people.