From 66 girls in the region attending schools in 2002 to today's 550, SKF is the proud sponsor of helping more than 70% of these girls in obtaining education. This is one of the projects that won the 2007 SKF Excellence Award.
Since 2003, SKF has been actively involved in supporting the UNICEF and the Turkish Ministry of National Education (MONE)'s campaign - The Siirt project. The project - Haydi Kizlar Okula! (Let's Go to School, Girls!), is a campaign established to identify and eliminate obstacles that are preventing education for girls and thus achieving gender parity in primary education attendance for girls and boys alike.
Illiteracy rate is the most significant indicator of gender inequality in Turkey. Despite the sharp decline of the illiteracy rate, one third of Turkish women remain illiterate and about 1 million school-age girls in the country do not have primary education. 40% of these girls are living in the eastern and south-eastern provinces of the country.
The province of Siirt, situated in the south-eastern part of Turkey is one of the 53 provinces selected for the campaign. Activities carried out by SKF to eliminate the obstacles include:
- established a system to monitor girls who are not enrolled and do not attend schools
- continually monitor the statistics between the number of girls and boys enrolled to schools as well as the schooling ratio of girls and boys
- worked together with the religion leaders addressing the importance of education for girls
- talked and explained to families the importance of education for girls
- provided scholarships for the girls with contribution from SKF Turkey, SKF employees, distributors, customers and suppliers
- mentorship to the girls
The success of the campaign in Siirt was demonstrated in the enrolment rate for girls, which surged from 57 to 90 percent while the rate for boys was 99 percent.
At the start of this project only 3 girls were enrolled in high school in this area, now (2014) it is more than 110. Nine of the girls have continued their studies in University. This has become a continuation of the original scope of the project, and to make this possible SKF Turkey is supported by both employees who are actively involved, and also distributors who are co-sponsoring the activity.