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Compilation and Dissemination of Traditional Children's Games

August 2023 - May 2024

Society’s changing consumption habits society, technological materials and devices, elements such as TV, telephone and internet have also changed the methods and tools of communication within the society. While such changes brought many benefits along, they also have many side effects. One of the main side effects is the loss of many traditions and customs. The oral literature tradition, which is the most important and preserves the memory of the society, comes first among the lost traditions. It is seen that master storytellers, who are the main actors of such tradition, are now being defeated by mass communication and digital media tools in terms of gaining the attention of new generations who will pass on this tradition. It is not only master storytellers who are defeated, many children are defeated by technology and experience serious social, psychological and language problems, which trigger pervasive developmental disabilities. As there is less interest in it, the oral literary tradition and many other cultural elements and rituals have been lost or are facing extinction. The narrators of oral literature are now only old people. These old people will become extinct like dinosaurs in a few decades.

In this context, it is not possible for the elements that cannot be transferred into educational and training tools to disappear. Considering the languages not used in education and training, the situation has become even more desperate. Since the language of education in Türkiye is only Turkish, it is understood that the disadvantaged segments of the population, who speak other languages, creating richness and a pluralistic structure of the society face a much more difficult situation.

Being aware that not all destruction can be prevented with this project, the compilation will be conducted in 3 villages of Mardin, which are Aykut (Dêrgûz), Kışlak (Şivistan) and Birık (Bîrikê). Archiving the unwritten children's games of the oral culture, which have started to disappear and only known by the elders and reflect the cultural codes, rituals and beliefs of the society, enabling access to children's games, contributing to the social and development of children, allowing parents to spend more time with their children, outputs of this work to be used as educational material, raising awareness about the products in the field of oral culture, approaching traditional children's games in the context of cultural richness, visualizing them, exhibiting the resulting visuals in Mardin and Diyarbakır provinces, compiling them into a book, organizing a Children's Games Workshop to be held by various institutions and schools are aimed to draw attention to the subject at hand.

In conclusion, considering that the main source of need is changing human relations and therefore their behaviour, which also disrupts the transmission of traditions, it is considered that this project aims to preserve the pluralism in the society, at least in one region and one element of folklore.

Mehmet Yay

Mehmet Yay / Mem Mukrîyani was born in Mardin in 1981. He graduated from Dicle University, Faculty of Education, Department of Teaching in 2008 and works as a Special Education Teacher. He has worked as a reporter at Gün TV in Diyarbakır for more than five years as well as other local TV and radio stations.

He has worked as a Kurdish (Kurmancî) teacher at Kurdî-Der and Ahmedê Xanî Language Academy between 2011 and 2015. He has been compiling works of Kurdish Folklore in the field since 2010, and three of his works under the pseudonym Mem Mukrîyani were published by Wardoz Publishing House.

Between 2014 and 2019, he was among the founders, editorial board members and writers of Kovara Rewşen (Rewşen Magazine), Kovara Folklora Kurdan (Kurdish Folklore Magazine) and Kovara Folklora Me (Our Folklore) magazines. He is a founding member of Wardoz Publishing House, which started its publishing life in 2017 and publishes Kurdish works, mainly folklore.

Since 2018, he has been working as a trainer for folklore compilation works in several NGOs and associations, especially the Mesopotamia Foundation. He is among the founding members of the "Memory (Bir) Language, Culture and Folklore Research Association, which was established in 2023.

This page is published on 7 December 2023.