Istanbul Gedik University was founded in 2010 by the Gedik Education Foundation, which has made significant contributions to education in our country for many years. Our founder, Halil Kaya Gedik, and his wife Vala Gedik’s dedication to education has become the founding mission of our university, emphasizing the importance of providing education to individuals with special needs. In line with this mission, between 2013 and 2015, with the support from the Istanbul Development Agency, in collaboration with Pendik District Governorate and Pendik Municipality, the “Active Life Center” was established under the slogan “I Am Active, I Am in Society.” Thanks to the contributions of our university and project partners and the support from the Turkish Sports Toto Organization, the project has been sustained, benefiting 200 children and young people with special needs, aged between 0 and 24, enabling their participation in physical activities to be integrated into social life.
Through a second grant obtained from ISTKA, on December 1, 2016, the Active Life Center was transformed into an Integrated Physical Activity Center, and special athletes began to participate in physical activity programs with their peers from neighboring schools.
The progress shown by the children benefiting from the project and the positive feedback received from their parents have highlighted the importance of providing high-quality services in the fields of education, health, social, cultural, and sports for individuals with special needs, and have emphasized the need to draw attention to good examples that meet this requirement.
In this context, since 2015, a ceremony named the “Vala Gedik Awards” has been organized in memory of Vala Gedik, a community volunteer committed to serving our country. Within the framework of this ceremony, awards are presented to individuals with special needs who have shown outstanding achievements, as well as to individuals, institutions, and organizations that have made successful efforts in delivering and improving services for these individuals.
“And they asked: Which place is darker in this world?
And I answered: Every place where love is absent.”