Dreams Academy 2020-04-16T12:59:42+00:00


“Where Dreams Come True”

Dreams Academy (DA) is a social responsibility project launched in 2008 by AYDER with partnership with UNDP (The United Nations Development Program), the Ministry of Development and Vodafone Turkey Foundation envisioning a barrier-free life for all. The primary purpose of the project is to ensure that the disabled and socially disadvantaged youth can lead a life without barriers via recreational activities. It is ensured that the individuals can attend art activities for free.

Project Objectives

  • Being a social innovation and support center for disabled people

  • Improving their social standards and providing permanent and healthy solutions to the barriers before them

  • Ensuring the production of value, empowering them to overcome social exclusion and become active and productive individuals

  • Instead of receiving donations, promoting their integration into social life and their independence and self-sufficiency

  • Proving that individuals can achieve a lot when given the chance and promoting awareness in the public

Project Activities

The academic calendar is designed according to the availability of the volunteering trainers/tutors. The academic curriculum includes activities such as dancing, DJ-ing, drama, playing musical instruments, filmmaking, photography, self-improvement, cooking, drawing, rhythm, design, Turkish sign language, singing, yoga workshops.
The academic calendar usually starts 15 days after the start of the classes at Turkish public schools and finish when the academic year ends.
the students must of age 8 and above. They need to provide 1 photo, the copy of their national ID, and letters from the doctors and the Counselling and Research Centers certifying the medical suitability of the student for the activities. Those who live Ataşehir, Istanbul are provided free transportation by the Municipality of Ataşehir. Those who reside in other quarters are supposed to arrange their own transportation to our premises.

A Brief History and An Overview of Our Solutions to Social Issues

As Dreams Academy, we ensure that those with physical and/or psychological obstacles and those who are socially disadvantaged and excluded, express themselves with the help of art, come up with new ideas, and integrate into the society as active and productive individuals.
In our headquarters in Ataşehir, we offer workshops for: dancing, DJ-ing, drama, film, drama, playing musical instruments, filmmaking, photography, self-improvement, cooking, drawing, rhythm, design, Turkish sign language, singing, yoga workshops and preparation to the corporate life, communication skills, life coaching and other self-improvement workshops.


The word volunteer is conceived as someone who works in a job on their own free will, however, in Turkey, it is usually thought to be a person who works in an NGO because the act of volunteering is one of the main pillars of NGOs. Volunteering means, at its simplest, not requesting any wage/pay or income/profit from the job one does. Volunteerism means to volunteer. Volunteering plays an important role in the strengthening of the social structure on a spiritual level.

Volunteering is crucial in the cases of national disasters and social development projects.  Volunteering also allows the individual to gain knowledge, experience, become active, learn to tolerate, and a professional approach as well as qualities such as taking responsibilities, and being accountable/reliable. Even if one does not earn any income from volunteering, one’s primary personal gain is the skills and competencies they earn.

Dreams Academy emphasizes volunteering as an added value in all projects in order to promote improvement of the volunteering experience, the awareness for it, and encourage more young people to take part in social awareness projects. The academy also benefits from the support of the volunteers to reinforce the concept of volunteering in Turkey. All projects of Alternative Life Association are built on volunteering, and the association views volunteers as the future social entrepreneurs in social responsibility. In this context in Dreams Academy:

  • The project staff who have the responsibility for coordinating volunteering, act as role models for the volunteers, and adopt an approach that is inclusive (one that is not conventionally hierarchical nor audited adorning a distanced attitude.)

  • The opinions of the volunteers are not only valued during the fieldwork but also during the office work when the project is under design.

  • The Dreams Academy volunteers invest in their futures by taking on roles in different stages of a project and contribute to their personal development by being involved in social responsibility projects and project management.

  • The Dreams Academy project is provided with volunteering support from its contacts/partners, hence, creates a volunteering awareness in these corporations/institutions.

  • The Dreams Academy volunteers play an active role in the implementation of the project as well as in the field and office/paper work stages, in line with their expertise.

As a result, The Dreams Academy project views its participants, tutors/trainers and project team as actors of change who each have equal rights and conditions and tries to promote a family environment rather than a conventional volunteer-project team relationship.

Dreams Academy Volunteer Job Description:

The volunteers involved in the field work;

  • Guide the students during the entrance to the classes and at the exits when the workshops finish.

  • Attend the classes and assist the tutors with;

    → keeping an attendance record,
    → the lessons,
    → repeating the materials covered in the workshop,
    → helping the participants in following the classes.

  • The volunteers also assist the project team in all activities and events (such as parties, shows, promotions, and presentations, etc.) of the Dreams Academy.

The volunteers in office work;

  • work in various administrative roles to help the project team with the work overload,

  • play an active role in the designing and planning the future of the project (if the volunteers have the required expertise if their schedule permits/if they are available),

  • get a chance to closely observe the planning and implementation stages.

Aside from these lines of work, Dreams Academy expects from its volunteers:

  • to attend all the workshops that they volunteer in as much as possible,

  • to increase the awareness about Dreams Academy in their circles,

  • to seek barters and/or financial support for the sustainability of Dreams Academy,

  • to implement the values and principles of Dreams Academy in their own lives as much as they can and to adopt ethical social responsibility.

To contribute to the community, producing is not a must. The most influential tool for change is spreading information and knowledge and promoting awareness. Our volunteers become a big part of the social integration by sharing the realities of physically handicapped or socially disadvantaged young people.

Project Deliverables

More than 4000 students have attended the free recreational and art activities as well as preparing them to professional life, and offering communication skills, personal coaching, and other self-development courses. Careers possibilities in professional arts open up to the young people who have attended our workshops.

  • The music band Social Inclusion Band takes stage at Babylon (an important venue for concerts) alongside famous artists and makes money.

  • Dreams Kitchen offers catering services to several large private corporations.

  • Dreams Venture performs play at various stages/locations.

  • D-Film produces video, video clips and shoots and offers services to businesses in these.

  • The income earned with these services are used to fund the salaries and social insurances of the disabled staff working at the Academy.

  • We attended the “Career Gateway” event that gathers disabled people with the HR representatives of private sector and local institutions in May 2016. The disabled groups received training in preparing a CV, expressing themselves, and problem-free communication.

  • Dreams Academy was introduced to the international arena as a pilot project in the context of the event “Innovation Enables” at the UN Meeting on “Disability and Development” held in New York.

  • DA Has been selected as one of the top 10 projects in the “This Is Social Europe Innovation Competition” by the EU Commission, among 150 projects from 23 countries.

  • We won the “Best Practice” award of “Design for All Foundation”; a foundation that is based in Barcelona and recognizes achievements in the implementation of universal designs.

Social Impact Evaluation


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