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In Turkey, UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador Maxim Vengerov plays for early childhood education

© UNICEF/NYHQ2013-0937/Oghanna
World-renowned violinist and conductor and UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador Maxim Vengerov plays at Gülen Üstünel Preschool, garnering support for a campaign to ensure more disadvantaged children complete a preschool education.

By Debbie Toskovic Kavanagh

ISTANBUL, Turkey, 31 October 2013 – World-renowned violinist and conductor and UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador Maxim Vengerov visited the Gülen Üstünel Preschool in Istanbul to support the A Child in Preschool Education with TL 25 Once A Month fundraising campaign.

The campaign aims to increase the enrolment and attendance of disadvantaged children in preschool education. The pilot project takes place in Adana, Ağrı, Ankara, Diyarbakır, Erzurum, Hatay, İzmir, Mersin, Şanlıurfa and Van provinces, alongside awareness-building around the importance of early childhood education, across Turkey.

Price of preschool

For a child to benefit from preschool education in Turkey, the average annual contribution of the state is 1,782 TL (US$894), and, of the family, 1,800 TL. Particularly in disadvantaged provinces, this figure deters many families from sending their children to preschool education institutions.

In the provinces in which the pilot project has been rolled out, donors provide 25 TL per month to provide for a child’s enrolment and attendance at preschool. The total donation is 300 TL per year per child, a sum that is sufficient to provide for health, hygiene, uniform and stationery for a child throughout the school year.

© UNICEF/NYHQ2013-0936/Oghanna
The campaign asks donors to cover basic expenses for a child whose family might otherwise be unable to afford preschool. “Early childhood is the most significant developmental period of life,” said Mr. Vengerov.

Most significant developmental period of life

“Early childhood is the most significant developmental period of life,” said Mr. Vengerov. “Early exposure to educational services is highly beneficial, especially for the marginalized, to enable all children to achieve their potential.

“I am very happy to learn that the campaign has given educational opportunities to 12,000 children who would not otherwise be able to benefit from quality early childhood education because of financial difficulties,” he added.

During his school visit, Mr. Vengerov played the violin and danced with the children. He spoke about how early exposure to music had shaped his life and his career. 

That evening, Mr. Vengerov performed a recital at a UNICEF preschool campaign benefit concert at Kıbrıslı Mansion. Recital partner Vag Papian accompanied Mr. Vengerov, joined by pianist Gülsin Onay, who has been UNICEF National Ambassador for Turkey since 2003.

Widely regarded as one of the world's most dynamic artists, Maxim Vengerov has performed sold-out concerts with eminent orchestras in every major city in the world. On 15 July 1997, Mr. Vengerov became the first classical musician to be appointed UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador.

Mr. Vengerov has seen UNICEF work with children in many countries, including Bosnia and Herzegovina, South Africa, Thailand and Uganda. He has also performed benefit concerts for UNICEF in the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland and the United States of America and attended musical workshops and master classes with children in Serbia, Uganda and the United States of America.

Throughout his time as a UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador, Mr. Vengerov has generously provided fundraising and advocacy support for UNICEF’s work around the world and helped inspire children through music.



UNICEF Photography: UNICEF supporters

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