HasNa's English Language Education Program was created in 2011 as a way to strengthen the capacity of young adults and emerging leaders in southeastern Turkey. HasNa and the Development Center (Diyarbakir Development Center (Kalkinma Merkezi) have found that many NGO leaders cite the lack of English language skills as a critical hindrance to communication with partners in neighboring countries and with international organizations. The English Language Training Program for NGOs, therefore, aims to improve the English language skills of regional leaders who play a key role in the development of their communities.
The Training Center was initiated in May of 2011 with the training of NGO leaders in Diyarbakir. Two English as a Second Language (ESL) experts and Returned Peace Corps Volunteers in Turkey conducted the trainings with the assistance of the English First Language School for 20 leaders of local NGOs. HasNa and the Development Center designed the program according to participants’ diverse backgrounds, differing English abilities, and varying goals. These NGO leaders aim to use the skills gained to enhance regional and international partnerships, and participants have created a support network to assist one another as they move forward.
In 2012 the English Language Education Program was redesigned to provide continual training for NGO leaders in the community of Diyarbakir. Two Returned Peace Corps Volunteers were were sent to Turkey in April of to conduct ESL training to the community leaders and local children and youth. In September 2012, the English Language Education Program was linked to HasNa's Entrepreneurship Beyond Borders program with women entrepreneurs in Diyarbakir serving as the main language beneficiaries. One Returned Peace Corps Volunteer and a language instructor conducted the training in Diyarbakir. Upon completion of the September program, five of the women participants came to the United States as participants in the Entrepreneurship Beyond Borders program.
In 2013, the program changed slightly from the previous years. HasNa and The Development Center decided to expand the amount of time that the participants would be enrolled in English language courses as a way to increase the number of hours of direct English learning. As a result, a three (3) phase program was designed and implemented from March – August 2013. During phase one: in March of 2013, five (5) NGO professionals from Diyarbakir began a 5-month intensive English program by enrolling in an English course at the English First language school in Diyarbakir, Turkey. After three (3) months of classes, phase two began when an English trainer was sent to Diyarbakir to teach English to the participants for four (4) weeks. Upon completion of the four week phase, four (4) of the participants traveled to Washington, DC, where they participated in intensive English language learning and organization visits at non-profit organizations around the Washington, DC metro area.