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Celebration of Service

Helping Turkey’s Forgotten Population

Foundation will connect people with disabilities, inform service providers

An estimated 12 percent of the people of Turkey are disabled, but the country has no exact data for the disabled population. Because of the lack of an integrated database, health and public services for the disabled are neglected – for instance, it is estimated that 2 out of 5 people with disabilities cannot attend social activities because of physical difficulties.

With the help of an IBM Centennial Grant and the principles of Smarter Healthcare, the Foundation for the Training and Protection of Mentally Handicapped children hopes to make life better for Turkey’s disabled population.

“When we succeed in this project, we will have the chance to impact the lives of people who are generally ignored in daily life,” says Mehmet Dolgan, Strategy Consultant for IBM, who applied for the IBM Centennial Grant for the Foundation for the Training and Protection of Mentally Handicapped Children. “This project will have the chance to make 12 percent of the population feel better, to participate in their social lives more and then to contribute to other people’s lives.”

Following the Smarter Healthcare model

At the heart of IBM’s Smarter Healthcare model is the availability of accurate data. The Foundation for the Training and Protection of Mentally Handicapped Children has a vision beginning with accurate data: they want to create a complete, integrated database of people with disabilities – including where people live, what type of handicap they have, and what assistance they need to do the things non-disabled people do as part of their normal lives.

The next step will be to develop web services to get the data to Turkey’s cities, hospitals, non-governmental organizations (NGOs), libraries, rehabilitation centers, and other agencies that serve people with disabilities. The final goal of the project will be to develop an online portal for people with disabilities so they can communicate with each other and with peer volunteers, and build a user-driven community.

Almost a full one-third of the work on the project will be carried out by volunteers, and most of those volunteers are employees in IBM’s Global Business Services division.

“IBM’s support of the project is crucial in many perspectives,” says Mehmet. “Since most of the volunteers are in Global Business Services, their skill set – project management, analysis, and development – will close the skill gap to succeed in this project.”

IBM is marking its centennial year with a worldwide celebration of volunteer service. Throughout 2011, IBM invites everyone to join our global community of employees, retirees, families and friends as we support the communities where we work, live and learn together.