By Hassan Isilow
Turkey’s state-run aid agency is working in association with South African authorities to help refurbish orphanages, particularly those for children born with HIV/AIDS.
‘‘One of the most recent projects we have taken on is to improve the building structure and support the building maintenance needs of orphanages which are taking care of children with AIDS in particular,’’ Mehmet Akif Sekerci, South Africa coordinator for the Turkish Cooperation and Coordination Agency (TIKA), told Anadolu Agency.
Sekerci said orphanages for children born with HIV need attention. He said although TIKA has been operational in South Africa for only three months, they have undertaken a number of projects that they hope to complete in the coming weeks.
He added that they have been able to help with the installation of air conditioning equipment at some mosques in Cape Town.
‘‘At a prominent national museum in Cape Town, we’re in the process of assisting in renovating large portions of the museum and also adding artifacts to be displayed,’’ Sekerci explained in an email interview.
“Some of these artifacts will reflect Turkish history within South Africa.’’
Prominent Turkish scholar Sheikh Abu Bakr Effendi lived in South Africa in the 1800s after being sent by Ottoman Sultan Abdulmecid to teach and assist the Muslim community in Cape Town, hence the shared history.
Sekerci also said TIKA is collaborating with the Ottoman Cricket Club in Cape Town to remedy the water crisis facing the club and its neighborhood.
Cape Town, a popular
South Africa has been receiving less rainfall or none for several months due to changes in climatic conditions. Most dams in the country have seen falling water levels.
TIKA says there are currently visiting different government institutions to analyze their needs and figure out where TIKA can contribute and cooperate with them.
‘‘We’ve already collected several project proposals from different regions and cities in South Africa, Lesotho, and Swaziland,’’ Sekerci said, adding that they plan to complete some 15 projects within the next several weeks.
Since its founding in 1992, TIKA has been responsible for facilitating Turkey’s official development assistance by providing help to developing countries.
Currently, TIKA is engaged in a variety of developmental cooperation activities in 150 countries through its 60 program coordination offices, including 20 in Africa.
Some of the projects it is tackling are in the fields of education, health, water, and sanitation. Others include agricultural development, civil and economic infrastructure, restoration, and tourism, among others.