Aveneu Park, Starling, Australia

The women under the patronage of Ministers

The first organizations
of women were in the form of charity associations. These associations, which
are called “Compassion” in short, were first established in
Thessaloniki. The ?efkat-i Nisvan founded by Emine Semiye in 1898 and the
Ottoman Women’s Association founded in 1908. The aim of charity associations is
to help poor and orphans who were in difficult situations. In order to provide
financial assistance, they have organized activities. Similar Compassionate associations
were established in ?stanbul, Konya, Samsun and Edirne. After the Young Turk
Revolution in 1908, women associations increased. In this study six of these
associations were chosen. These are Osmanl? Kad?nlar? Cemiyet-i Hayriyesi – Charitable Ottoman Women’s
Organization, Hilâl-i Ahmer Han?mlar Merkezi-Women’s Branch of The Red Crescent
Society, Osman? Türk Han?mlar? Esirgeme Derne?i-
Ottoman Turkish Women Protection
Association, Müdafaa-i
Milliye Osmanl? Han?mlar Heyeti – Women’s Branch of The National Defense
Organization, ?stihlak-? Milli Kad?nlar Cemiyeti- National Consumption Women
Association, Asker Ailelerine Yard?mc? Han?mlar Cemiyeti – Women’s Association
For the Assistance of Soldier’s Families. All of these
communities continued their activities for a long time and worked in an
organized way with their branches. .

2.1. Osmanl? Kad?nlar?
Cemiyet-i Hayriyesi – Charitable Ottoman Women’s     Organization (September 1909)

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Charitable Ottoman Women’s Organization was founded by thirty women
under the patronage of Ministers of War and Navy in September 1919. The
society’s president was Leyla Han?m. The ultimate aim of the organization was
to open hospitals for soldiers and children. The association could open its
branches in different towns in a short time. These branches also worked for
open and operate military hospitals.

The main source of fund for the society comes from the membership fees
of its members. The society organized fund-raising activities such as fairs and
concerts and members collected money in the streets. 

The society got help and materials from The Donations Committee on a
request of Leyla Han?m. For example, 200 slippers, 200 cotton vests, 200 belts,
a dozen of thermometers, 100 pairs of socks, plates, porcelain ewers, washing
bowls and fabrics. A look at the list of women involved in the sales of goods,
flowers and refreshments confirms that the Osmanl? Kad?nlar Cemiyet-i  Hayriyesi was a real Ottoman organization
which had representatives of several of the ethno religious groups living in
the Ottoman Empire amongst its membership- it seems that even some women of non
Ottoman citizenship participated in its activities. Nicole Van Os summarized
the activities of this society as:

          “The
activities of the organization form a nice example of the combination of
philanthropy, patriotism and feminism. As discussed before, taking care of
wounded soldiers by sewing bandages and night gowns, equipping a hospital,
collecting and donating money for several purposes, collecting and donating
money for several purposes and setting up a girls’ school not just to educate
the girls for their own benefit, but to raise the educated mothers of a future
generation of service for the fatherland.” 1

1              Van Os, “Feminism, Philanthropy
& Patriotism” pp.
121-133. 

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