About Darüşşafaka

Equality of opportunity in education since 1863

As the first non-governmental organization of Turkey in the field of education, Darüşşafaka Society is continuing its services with its mission of “equality of opportunity in education” since 1863 till date.

Lexically meaning “home of compassion”, Darüşşafaka is now getting for safekeeping from their families the fatherless or motherless talented children with limited financial means when they are ten years old,and providing them with an education opportunity of international standards, and raising them as thinking, questioning, self-confident and leader individuals who are aware of their responsibilities towards the society.

Never-Ending Story

Today, around 1,000 students selected by an exam from the four corners of our country are offered a full scholarship, boarding, college education for a period of eight years from the 1st class of secondary school until graduation from high school in Darüşşafaka Educational Institutions in Maslak/Istanbul. And the Society is continuing to give scholarship support to its graduates winning the university exam.

Light kept on since the year 1863 with the support of the Enlightened Turkey lovers!

All opportunities provided to our children in Darüşşafaka Educational Institutions are funded by donations of individuals and entities to the Society. With the supports of numerous persons and entities in love with the enlightened future of our country, such as Atatürk’s mother Zübeyde Hanım, sister Makbule Atadan and adopted daughter Nebile İrdelp, Sait Faik Abasıyanık, and Türkiye İş Bank, the Society is providing our children with the right of “equality of opportunity in education”.

Lives Changing with Education

Mathematician Salih Zeki, pioneer of ultrasonography Prof. Dr. Adnan Sokullu, artist Mahmut Cûda, Muhittin Sebati, a milestone in the Turkish literature Ahmet Rasim, the first child psychiatrist of Turkey Prof. Dr. Rıdvan Cebiroğlu, mathematician Mehmet İzzet, literary critic Berna Moran, composer Kazım Uz, a man of letters İsmail Safa, the first urban historian of the Republican history and an important name in the Turkish municipalism Osman Nuri Ergin, theatre player and actor İhsan Devrim, Undersecretary to Prime Ministry and Secretary General of Presidency Necdet Seçkinöz, civil engineer and a leading name in the world of education Fettah Aytaç, actor and director Tolga Aşkıner, caricaturist Tekin Aral, musician Reşat Aysu, basketball player, coach and journalist Yalçın Granit and many more… All have lost their fathers in a small age, and their financial means did not allow them even to go to school, let alone receiving a decent education. And they had the chance to receive education with compassion in Darüşşafaka thanks to the donations collected from philanthropists by the Society defending that each child has the right to receive a good education, and then they stepped in a new world with the education they received, and changed the fate of not only themselves, but also their families, and marked the future of their country through key jobs assumed. This is the motive underlying the services offered by Darüşşafaka Society since 1863!

From the training of Grand Bazaar shopkeepers to the cutting edge level in education of its era…

Founded by an edict of the Sultan on 30 March 1863 by Gazi Ahmet Muhtar Pasha, Vidinli Tevfik Pasha, Sakızlı Ahmet Esat Pasha and Ali Nâki Efendi under the leadership of Yusuf Ziya Pasha, a leading mathematician, soldier and statesman of that era, the original objective of the Society was to fund the training of young shopkeepers of the Grand Bazaar. Having the old Valide School in Beyazıt repaired, the Society induced a plenty of intellectuals of the era, also including Namık Kemal (Homeland Poet), to serve as volunteer teachers in the new school. And in 1868, in the Ottoman State wherein only old barracks or mansions were being used as school buildings till that time, the Society started to construct the first original school building of the history of Turkey. The school building designed by the Italian architect Barironi and planned by Ohannes Kalfa, the chief architect of Dolmabahçe Palace, was built on a land in Fatih, Istanbul purchased by money donated by Sultan Abdülaziz. The school building, equipped by means above and beyond the times and fit for education of girl and boy students under the same roof, opened its doors as a special status free boarding school with the name “Darüşşafakat’ül İslamiye” on 29 June 1873. Since that time, the Society is continuously striving hard for creating financial sources for education of students of Darüşşafaka.

Never cast a shadow on trust of its donators throughout its history…

As of the ends of the 1800s, the number of schools giving education in Western style in our country was so little that it could be counted on the fingers of one hand. And the basic difference separating Darüşşafaka, as one of them, from other schools of this kind was its adopting the “equality of opportunity in education” mission since the very first day. While its equivalents accepted only children of wealthy families for education, the Society provided top quality education opportunity only to fatherless children of families with inadequate financial means. Even though the contents, names or venues of its education programs are from time to time renewed according to the then-available requirements and needs, the Society, never making a concession from its original mission, is still continuing to change lives through education opportunities.

Goal: To change lives of more children through education

In broad terms, Darüşşafaka Family is composed of Darüşşafaka Society and Darüşşafaka Educational Institutions, Darüşşafaka Residences (Yakacık, Maltepe, Şenesenevler and Urla), Maltepe Special Care Unit, and Ömran ve Yahya Hamuluoğlu Physical Therapy and Rehabilitation Centre affiliated to Darüşşafaka Society. Joint goal of all of these organizations is to provide a greater number of children with top quality education opportunity with contributions of the supporting persons and entities. The Society is still funded by real estate donations and contributions in cash and in kind received from persons or entities, just like it was when it was founded.

Not ever permitting anything which may cast a shadow on trust and wish of its donators throughout its history, the Society is still continuing its existence as an institution supported and contributed in full confidence by those who believe that an enlightened Turkey can be built only by education. And with the courage given by this support, the Society is taking steps so as to reach a greater number of children.