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Turkish Female Physicians’ Education Support Foundation is the recipient of the 23rd Vehbi Koç Award

The Turkish Female Physicians’ Education Support Foundation (KAHEV) has been announced as this year’s recipient of the distinguished Vehbi Koç Award, annually presented by Vehbi Koç Foundation, the  first private foundation established 55 years ago in Türkiye. The award, presented to individuals or institutions for their outstanding contributions to the fields of culture, education and healthcare, respectively, recognizes KAHEV’s significant achievements. Vehbi Koç Foundation Board of Directors named KAHEV as the award recipient among the three candidates nominated by the Selection Committee, chaired by Prof. Dr. Hüseyin Vural, himself the recipient of the 20th Vehbi Koç Award, and consisting of Prof. Ebru Aktan Acar, Prof. Soner Yıldırım, Prof. Emine Erktin and Prof. Yüksel Kavak.

Established in 2018 by a group of female physicians, KAHEV is committed to improving educational opportunities, particularly for underserved children and schools in rural areas. Initially focused on granting scholarships to students, the foundation has expanded its scope significantly over the years. KAHEV now extends its support beyond financial aid to provide services such as maintenance and repairs for rural schools and building new classrooms, laboratories and libraries within these educational institutions. KAHEV grants regular scholarships to more than 5,000 students, while providing ongoing educational support and assistance to the children of healthcare workers who lost their lives during the COVID-19 pandemic. The foundation currently has more than 5,500 registered members and over 26,000 volunteers.

Speaking at the award ceremony, Koç Holding Chairman Ömer M. Koç said, “As we gather for this occasion, we remember our founder, the late Vehbi Koç, with deep respect and gratitude on the 28th anniversary of his passing Together, we honor his enduring ideals and devoted efforts. Vehbi Koç Foundation was established 55 years ago as Türkiye’s first private foundation with the mission of revitalizing the longstanding tradition of charitable foundations and fostering social development, guided by its motto, ‘The Onus is on Us’. In addition to facilitating educational scholarships for tens of thousands of talented young people, the foundation’s legacy endures through the indelible mark left on the schools, dorms, hospitals and medical centers it has built and donated, touching the lives of millions.”

Underlining education as a cornerstone of Vehbi Koç Foundation’s activities, Ömer M. Koç added, “To promote equality and access in education, our foundation has granted scholarships to more than 50,000 young people to date, while also contributing to raising modern generations through the educational institutions it has built across the country. As Vehbi Koç said about the importance of education, ‘Service to raising young generations and advancing our nation’s progress is a duty to both humanity and our country.’”

Ömer M. Koç: ‘KAHEV’s belief that a modern and prosperous society can only be attained through education is praiseworthy.
During the announcement of KAHEV as the recipient of the award, Ömer M. Koç continued, “Institutions that assume responsibility for education and contribute to solving problems inspire us to strive for greater impact. This year’s award recipient, KAHEV, has instilled hope in thousands of students in only six years, a relatively brief period for a foundation to capture such an achievement as remarkable as how it came to life. The journey that started as the ‘Physician Mothers Group’ on social media in 2017 has evolved into a beacon of hope for thousands of children, achieved solely through the individual donations KAHEV continues to raise. KAHEV stands as a unique example of solidarity among the women of our Republic, representing a belief that a modern and prosperous society can only be attained through education.”

Demet Orhan Başer: ‘We believe that education is a fundamental human right and aspire to ensure equal access to educational opportunities for all.’
Demet Orhan Başer, a member of KAHEV’s board of trustees, described the Vehbi Koç Award as a proud achievement for the foundation, expressing their deep gratitude for the honor. “We appreciate the opportunities our Republic has created for women. Thanks to the Republic, women have been able to receive education and pursue their own professions. When we realized our potential to create meaningful change in society, we initially united on social media to prevent a student from dropping out of school. This spark ignited a broader educational movement within the healthcare community. Each scholarship we granted, each contribution we made to schools, led to further action. Working closely with our board of trustees and board directors, we have channeled this energy to the right purposes. We believe that education is a fundamental human right and aspire to ensure equal access to educational opportunities for all.”

Expressing their aspiration for KAHEV to evolve into a globally recognized and trusted institution, Demet Orhan Başer added, “We are committed to the cause of advancing youth and education across our country with the support of tens of thousands of female physicians and countless supporters from every corner of Türkiye who share our mission. Reflecting on the significance of the Vehbi Koç Award for us…  When you are guided by integrity and good intentions in your endeavors, paths will naturally open for you without the need for anything else At our foundation, we find great joy in engaging in projects that align with our beliefs and pleasure in the outcomes we achieve. Now, receiving this prestigious award and your support reminds us: ‘Upholding your morals and working diligently with compassion and conscientiousness are truly recognized by the right people. You are on the right track, ladies! Keep moving forward.’ We can’t thank you enough for the reassurance that we are not alone on this journey.”

Semahat Arsel Scholarship Fund soon to be set up
Demet Orhan Başer announced that they would channel the prize they receive toward setting up the Semahat Arsel Scholarship Fund with the objective of granting scholarships to children and young people starting from the upcoming academic year with the support of Vehbi Koç Foundation.