As AFS Volunteers, we see that intercultural differences do not only exist internationally but also exist within the same country and they sometimes trigger conflicts in the society. The notion of Hakkari Gel Gari is based on the view that interaction is essential to overcome the prejudices that are resulted by not knowing each other. Geographically, Hakkari is on the very southeast corner of Turkey. The province is bordering Iraq in the south and Iran in the east. One of the poorest in the country, the province is at the epicentre of unrest since the 1980’s due to armed conflict between Turkish military and PKK. Therefore, the name ‘Hakkari’ is often associated with bad news for the rest of the country.
In the scope of the project, students and teachers from Hakkari stay with volunteer families in İzmir during their exchange week, engaging in cultural and artistic activities as well as trainings on intercultural communication and active citizenship.

I really love my family; they’re not just my hosts – they’re my real family!

Eda, participant in Hakkari Let’s Meet -2016
The first edition of the project took place in 2015 and won the AFS Changemakers Award. Hakkari has been an AFS chapter since then. 10 students from the region have been supported with different scholarships.