This encounter really inspired me. Aybuke, Ece and Neva, three girls from the college read an article in National Geographic Magazine about biodiesel, and persuaded their college to support them in a scheme they devised to collect used cooking oil from their canteen for Albiyobir, a local biodiesel producer.
They expanded the scheme so pupils could bring their used cooking oil from home into school too, and expanded it again for the homes in the neighbourhood to deposit their used oil at the school.
Then they went to a number of conferences and got another 70 schools to do the same thing, not just in Turkey, but internationally.
The girls have now graduated from the high school and are at university (studying law and engineering). They came back as part of a special presentation to give me some oil and told me all about the oil collection project, and the education programme that went with it, in faultless English, and left me in awe at how competent these 19 year olds are. They are now working their magic on their universities to collect oil from there too.
And to prove that they really know their stuff, they presented me with a gift of kitchen roll. Anyone that has collected oil knows the value of kitchen roll. These guys are for real. I love the thought process they must have gone through; He’s collecting veg oil around the world? That guy’s going to need some paper towels!
Credit for the project also goes to Elvan, one of their teachers who supported them. My thanks go to all the staff at Buyuk Koleje who made me feel very welcome and to everyone that collected oil for the bus.
Photos in the Gallery.
Next I am headed to the University in Konya, which has a Biodiesel Institute, where I think I’ve been asked to give a lecture!