In Focus: The Olive Tree of Istanbul
- Support a local NGO helping Syrian refugees settle in a new home
- Enjoy a delicious Syrian meal and talk with the refugees
- Meet some of the volunteers who dedicate their time to helping others
- Visit a corner of Istanbul off the beaten tourist track
- All net proceeds of this tour will go to support Small Projects Istanbul
Tucked away on a tiny side street in an area not far from the tourist center of Istanbul, you’ll find a small building called The Olive Tree. Like its namesake, it’s a modest but strong place, much like the people it supports. It represents a peaceful co-existence of cultures.
Syria’s civil war is one of the worst humanitarian crises of our time, and families are struggling to either survive within Syria or to make a new home in neighboring countries. Families are being torn apart as they struggle to find acceptance in new lands and travel further afield for opportunities and for seeking better lives for their families.
In Turkey, you do not have to go far to hear the melodic tones of Syrian Arabic and to see the very real outcomes of this global crisis. Join us as we travel to the Capa district of Istanbul and visit Small Projects of Istanbul, a local NGO helping displaced families, particularly women and children, to find their feet. With a global community of volunteers and supporters, SPI is working to provide supplemental education for children through weekly Turkish language classes and a homework support club, as well as art and other activities that develop community and a new sense of belonging.
Sit down for a simple meal of Syrian cuisine – maybe moujadara (burgal, green lentils and fried onion), maklube (spiced rice, chicken, and nuts), or fetteh (rice, crispy bread, chicken, and tahini) – proudly prepared by the ladies of the center. Talk informally with some of the brave individuals who have had to flee their home and with the eclectic group of volunteers from Turkey, Syria, Australia, New Zealand, USA and beyond, who give up their time to help.
Afterwards, we’ll journey back to Sultanhamet by local tram. Your tour will finish back at the original meeting point. All net proceeds of this tour will go to Small Projects Istanbul.
- Local English-speaking guide
- Home cooked meal
- Tea and sweets
- Local transportation
- Additional food and drinks
- Souvenirs and personal expenses
- Tips or gratuities for your guide
- Сhildren 5 years of age and under: free
- Children 6 to 11 years of age: reduced
Pudding Shop Lale Restaurant Divanyolu Caddesi No. 6, 34400, Sultanahmet
The restaurant is located on the street where the tram lines run through Sultanahmet, approximately a 3-minute walk from the Sultanahmet tram stop.
- Please note: this tour includes a walk through a local neighbourhood for approximately 40 minutes
- Please be aware that the standard of dress through out Turkey is conservative. To respect this and for your own comfort, please wear modest clothing. This means clothing that covers your shoulders and knees for both women and men.
- Following recent safety incidents, we recommend that you check your government's advice for their latest information on traveling in Turkey before your departure and ensure that your travel insurance covers you for all areas of your itinerary. We have links to prominent government travel advisories and regular updates on issues affecting this trip on our Travel Alerts page.
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