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Economic Development

Şengül Akçar

Şengül Akçar Developed the First Women's Micro-Credit Program in Turkey

Sabancı Foundation's "Turkey's Changemakers" program hosts Şengül Akçar who established the Foundation for the Support of Women's Work (FSWW) for the economic independence of women, to improve the quality of their lives and their leadership capacity.

Establishing the FSWW in 1986 Şengül Akçar then developed Maya, the first micro-credit project in Turkey, after the devastating 1999 Marmara Earthquake. Maya provides small loans to low-income women and assists their small businesses. It was established in 2002 in Kocaeli, a small city in the Marmara Region that greatly suffered due to the earthquake.

Maya then became active in İstanbul, Düzce, and Sakarya. The central office of Maya is in İstanbul and to date has given a total of 7 million Turkish Lira (4,422 million USD) in loans to low-income women.

FSWW also receives funding through the Sabancı Foundation's Social Development Grant Program which helped start Mikronet: The Micro Entrepreneur Women's Work Portal. Within the scope of Mikronet, a work portal for entrepreneur women was developed and provides assistance for entrepreneur women through mentoring communication, and information services. Computer education is also provided for entrepreneur women who want to use this portal but do not know how to use a computer.

In addition to Maya and Mikronet projects, FSWW and Şengül Akçar develop and implement programs on early childhood education, capacity improvement, economic development, and disaster management, and work to expand them to the local levels. Last but not least, FSWW has provided 20 thousand women employment in 12 cities in Turkey.

Season 1 - Epsiode 33

Date: 23.5.2010

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