Turkish delights and other donations

| June 26, 2011 | 0 Comments
The Turkish Children’s Day gala took place in April at the National Arts Centre. From left: Turkish Ambassador Rafet Akgunay, organizer Lale Eskicioglu, Ms Akgunay and guest, Nilgun Saatcioglu.

The Turkish Children’s Day gala took place in April at the National Arts Centre. From left: Turkish Ambassador Rafet Akgunay, organizer Lale Eskicioglu, Ms Akgunay and guest, Nilgun Saatcioglu.

Every year since 1927, the Turkish people have celebrated in April what they call Children’s Day.
On April 23, 1920, the Grand National Assembly of Turkey was established and the following year April 23 was declared a national holiday. Six years later, in addition to being the country’s national day, it was named Children’s Day, an official holiday marked by children’s festivals. Children from other countries are invited to Turkey and billeted in Turkish homes for the celebration.
It’s an event Turks of all ages love and this year, for the third year in a row, the Turkish community of Ottawa decided to mark it by holding a fundraiser to raise money for children in their new community, so they donated proceeds of more than $19,400 to the Children’s Hospital of Eastern Ontario. While it was members of the Turkish community of Ottawa who organized the event, the Turkish embassy was also involved. Indeed, Zeynep Akgunay, wife of Turkish Ambassador Rafet Akgunay, was a member of the organizing committee as were the spouses of a few other Turkish diplomats.
“Since I’m not working (while in Canada), I thought it would be nice to get involved,” the English professor said. One of her principal roles was to help the committee scout venues and settle on the National Arts Centre. “Before, we had it at a less-known place and I think finding a place like the National Arts Centre was important. And because it was for Children’s Day, we thought it would be nice to have CHEO receive the money.”
The event included a silent auction followed by a dinner, fashion show and live auction. The Turkish embassy provided the wine for the cocktail hour and the dinner as well as the first course of the three-course meal, a tasty traditional Turkish dish made of pastry and known as börek. She and her husband also donated a dinner for 18, which was auctioned off for the handsome price of $2,100. Ms Akgunay said the winning bidder was to cash in on her prize at the end of last month.
Fashions were provided by Turkish-Canadian Semiha Cantas, owner of Cantas boutique on Sussex Drive, while a handful of artists donated paintings to the silent and live auctions.
Event chairwoman Lale Eskicioglu said the embassy provided leadership for the event.
“It was really the community that put on the event but the ambassador’s wife got us all together,” she said. Organizers presented a giant cheque to CHEO officials at the hospital’s annual telethon last month.

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