Aisha Khan writes about her recent trip to Ankara in Turkey for the closing meeting for the Pandora Project
I recently returned from Ankara, for a closing meeting for a Erasmus+ project we have been working on for the past two years called Pandora.
This four (Italy, UK, Poland & Turkey) country partnership project which was led by HYRO – HUMAN RIGHTS YOUTH ORGANIZATION ASSOCIAZIONE in Sicily, focused on developing an educational path for disadvantaged women and sharing best practices in the field of economic integration and female entrepreneurship
Our closing meeting was generously hosted by our Turkish partner, Yenimhalle Municipality based in Ankara. The closing meeting was held to evaluate the project. The meeting consisted of evaluations of the fundamental elements of the project i.e. objective results, collaboration and the outcomes of the project namely the booklet and toolkit. There were also assessments of the financial aspect of the project. The highlight of the meeting however, was the final conference which was a celebration of the outcomes of the project and was a platform for the dissemination of the project results. All partners presented the work they had carried out in their respective countries.
The meeting also gave us a chance to explore the wonderful city of Ankara. We explored, what I believe to be the treasure of Ankara, Ankara Kalesi (Ankara Castle). This well-preserved quarter of thick walls and intriguing winding streets took its present shape in the 9th century AD, when the Byzantine emperor Michael II constructed the outer ramparts. The inner walls date from the 7th century. It was located on top of a hill in the old city, the area inside the citadel contains many fine examples of traditional architecture. We walked up a steep road and climbed up a flight of stairs to find a breathtakingly beautiful Panoramic view of Ankara. There was also an extraordinary bazaar that surrounded the castle, myself and Yvonne made the most of our time at the bazaar and shopped until we quit literally dropped. After, all that shopping we stopped for a drink in a quirky café from which I had the best freshly squeezed orange juice I had ever tasted!
Another highlight of my trip to Ankara was Ankara’s equivalent to London’s Oxford Street known as TunaliHilmi street, we stopped there for some delicious dessert namely Caramel Dulce Leche and found many bargains. I think it’s fair to say that myself and Yvonne never tired of shopping in Turkey.
The closing meeting was comprised of four coordinators and a staff members per partner organisation. It was a celebration of the project and great farewell, some great international friendships were formed through the Pandora project. There was also talks of more collaboration between partners, which we at Ubele welcome and are looking forward to.