Considering the inadequate care in our country for the protection of cultural heritage and the growing risk of extinction of Türkiye’s traditional workmanship and handicrafts, our Foundation took an important step and started the Project for Training Woodwork Artisans for Historical Buildings in 2004.  

Our project, supported by EU with İŞKUR (the Turkish Employment Agency) as the executive partner, was launched in 22nd December 2004 upon its inclusion in the EU Active Labour Market Programme, New Opportunities Grant Plan. In developing the Project our Foundation took inton consideration the UNESCO’s warning that Istanbul’s Historical Peninsula might be removed from the World Historical Heritage list. The two main objectives of the Project were:  

1) Pass on to next generations the wooden houses that managed to survive today as a cultural heritage; and 

2) Raise new woodwork artisans in the traditional craftsmanship culture which is under the threat of extinction.

The project’s most important output was the graduation of qualified workforce which proved the value generated by fruitful initiatives for individuals, for the local econonmy, and for the sustainability of the country’s cultural heritage. 

The attendants of the training were chosen from the graduates of vocational schools on woodwork, and restoration-related higher education institutions; and those who have enough knowledge of using machinery with an experience of at least five years. The training programme had two phases; the first was the “Theoretical and Workshop Learning” with a duration of one and a half months, which was carried out in the ateliers of Anatolian Technical Construction and Building Vocational Highschool founded by the Istanbul Industrial Chamber Foundation, with university lecturers and vocational school instructors as the trainers. The second phase was a field work of four and half months. During this phase restoration work was carried out for the two wooden buildings which the Fatih Municipality had assigned for our Project’s use, and for which a repair and restoration permit was obtained from the Preservation of Cultural and Natural Properties Council No.1 of Istanbul. In these buildings the trainees attended the applied training sessions together with the members of the Historical Environment and Building Protectors’ Association. 

At the end of the training the 26 successful trainers received their “Certificate of Woodwork Mastery” signed by the European Union Türkiye Delegation, İŞKUR Provincial Directorate of Istanbul and our Cultural Awareness Foundation. The two buildings restored by our trainees were handed over to the Fatih Municipality to be delivered to their owners at a ceremony on June 30, 2006, hosted by Güven Taşbaşı, the Deputy Governor of Istanbul, and Mustafa Demir, the Mayor of Fatih District.