Planting the Seeds of Higher Education

Does education have the power to transform lives? At Eldorado Gold, we know it does –and we also know that its power is exponential. One educated person can improve their own socioeconomic position, while also elevating their family. Likewise, several educated persons living in a village can lift up the whole community.

Efemçukuru Village in Turkey, located near our Tüprag Gold Mine, is living proof. This quaint rural village, population 500-plus, features undulating hills dotted with red-clay roof homes and tiers of deep-purple grapes hanging heavily on tangles of leafy green vines. The Efemçukuru villagers have been farming grapes and olives by hand for generations. This, despite advancements in agriculture as the topography limits the use of mechanized machinery. Efemçukuru is also a one-school village – a primary level school.

Up until 18 years ago, village life was preserved as if in amber, while many other parts of the country sped ahead. Without the benefit of agricultural mechanization and access to higher education, the future of the village wasn’t certain.

Project Snowdrops

In 2004 that changed. After discussions with the villagers and other community partners, Eldorado Gold launched Project Snowdrops to provide support and remove barriers to higher education. Soon, students from the village had much-needed stationary supplies and school uniforms, and a few were being bussed to nearby towns where there were high schools.

At that time, the village had just one high-school student and no university students. By the end of 2021, they had 84 high-schoolers and 15 university students. In both cases, the numbers have steadily trended up every year. Many graduates have secured employment with our Company, which has afforded them the choice to continue living in Efemçukuru Village, close to their families, where they can also help keep the farming tradition alive and well.

Company-Funded Education

Zeynep Mizrak, who works at our Operations as a Maintenance Planning Clerk, is one of the growing number of success stories. “Thanks to the Snowdrops Project, I was one of four students who attended and graduated from high school for the first time in our village, with all educational expenses covered by our Company,” she explains. “I started working at Tüprag Mine in 2011, and completed my university education while working here. Other students in the village have followed in our footsteps and have achieved a standard of living they had always dreamt of.”

For the past 35 years, Eldorado Gold and its wholly-owned subsidiaries have built partnerships with stakeholders across global locations with the goal to develop opportunities that will endure well beyond the life of our operations.

Living Our Values

As an employer, we add value to communities by providing local workers with well-paying jobs and training for advancement to support their families and build prosperous local economies. As a neighbour, we invest in education, health and infrastructure in the communities near our operations. As a corporate citizen, we contribute to the economic prosperity of our host nations.

Eldorado Gold is proud to be a responsible member of the communities in which we operate, living every day by our values: collaboration, courage, integrity, drive, and agility.

For more information about Project Snowdrops and other community initiatives, watch our 35th anniversary documentary “A Story of Dedication”.

Employees who graduated from high school or university as part of Project Snowdrops meet with the Manager of Public Relations and Government Relations for our Efemçukuru site. From left to right: Enise Balcı (TSF/Geotechnical Technician), Duygu Şahbaz (Industrial Psychologist), Onur Demir (Public Relations and Government Relations Manager), Hilal Karakuş (Safety Technician), Gizem Balaban (Technical Office Clerk).

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