YHP TURKEY – I am a Teenager


Eight secondary schools across Turkey.


2013 – 2016

The local context

Many vulnerable adolescents in Turkey resort to violence as a means of communication, and exhibit low self-awareness and high despair. Many Turkish schools still have corporal punishment and attacks by students on staff are not uncommon.

Our objectives

To build emotional awareness, communication and social skills, and so help young people to become more independent and responsible for their own safety and to reduce tendencies to violence and despair. 


Our focus

Adolescent mental health and violence.


Our programme

Eight secondary education schools designated by the Ministry of Education were visited three times each, at average intervals of five months, to conduct workshops and seminars and undertake research with the students. The young people were engaged through play therapy, psychodrama and art therapy in workshops moderated by psychologists.

Parents and schoolteachers attended a total of four seminars per school under the project, where the characteristics of adolescence were explained.

The research findings were analysed by the Department of Psychology at Acıbadem University.

The workshops and seminars focused on:

  • Enabling adolescents to gain independence and take responsibility for their own safety
  • Helping them to avoid violence by improving communication skills and considering ways to resolve conflict without resorting to fighting
  • Helping adolescents to strengthen family relationships and encouraging them to get involved in their communities.

Background information and materials for all target audiences were printed and distributed as manuals. The famous cartoon artist Tan Cemal Genç drew illustrations – a useful way of engaging adolescents.

Our achievements

The research study found that our intervention was effective in addressing lack of motivation among students and also reduced the students’ tendency to violence.

The study identified that, in Turkey, male adolescents were more prone to violence than female adolescents, and that female students were more likely to have negative expectations and feelings about their future than their male peers. It also confirmed a link between loss of motivation, and negative expectations of the future, and a tendency to violence.

By the end of the project, approximately 9 million people had been reached through national media coverage. As a result of this media coverage, the ‘I am a Teenager’ project was introduced in Maltepe Juvenile Prison at the request of the Prison Director and with permission from the Ministry of Justice.

Published resources:

AstraZeneca Turkey’s ‘I am a Teenager’ Project has been awarded:

  • The 2014 International Business Awards: Corporate Social Responsibility Programme of the Year in Europe
  • The 2014 International Business Awards: The Best New Service of the Year in the Pharmaceutical Sector
  • Social Responsibility in Healthcare Awards 2014: Special Award for Raising Awareness

Our Partners

TOÇEV the Foundation for Educating Children is one of the leading NGO's in Turkey that work in child education. TOÇEV provides lifelong education facilities and aims to help parents to raise their children to become individuals with social awareness and who take an active role in their social lives, and see a positive future.