UmAy Home Space

Where Volunteer Spirit and Peace

Welcome Women Immigrants

In 2019, we renewed a home and work space in Kırkpınar town of Sakarya, where Lake Sapanca is only in walking distance after an array of local cafes and restaurants on a street that was once part of the Silk Road. It has been in the trial process of serving as a platform for and by refugee and migrant women at large (please promote the term border-crossers too!), raising awareness, promoting creativity, and developing capacity and competence.

Mission in a Nutshell

UmAy is an independent, privately owned home and work space (145 meter square). We aim to provide refugee and migrant women with the opportunities to get involved with a diverse network, create, heal, and share stories and experiences. We believe that spirituality cannot and should not be a narcotic comfort in a broken world but its healing effects might appear in surprising and awakening ways. Join us for a meaningful discourse around the challenges of our times and get support in taking new steps in your lives.

Creative Workspace for Women

Connecting with Our Community

Environment Friendly Space

The Story of Our Name

Umay is a female figure in Turkic mythology. Its root meaning comes from hope, wish and in tend while simultaneously denoting placenta (umay also means ‘womb’ in Mongolian), dates back in the 8th century. Umay goddess is in charge of protecting children and baby-animals such as kids, kittens, and cubs. She is believed to bring fertility and guide pregnant women as well ( She is revived in the character of an energetic, wise, generous, independent, and eccentric grandmother (Umay Nine) in Buket Uzuner’s novel series The Adventures of Misfit Defne Kaman since 2016. The female journalist Defne’s research on environment, women’s rights, smuggling on historical artifacts in Turkey put her into trouble in each volume, but her grandmother Umay always keeps calm and protects Defne by appropriating some ancient Shaman traditions in Anatolia.

Applicant Profile

Immigrant women with a background in the arts and humanities, the representatives of diasporas, migrant organizations, researchers, policy advisors, professional translators, idealist interns with a vision, and practitioners working in the field of migration to join in. 

Send us proposals and resumes for our broadly defined and adaptable focus areas such as the arts, cultural preservation, and philanthropy that you are planning to work on during your stay. Although our home-work-space is for creative women’s experiences, men who are supportive and respectful of women’s struggles are also welcome to attend. 

Our Guestbook

Proposing “halcyon” as an attribute to UmAy

Proposing “halcyon” as an attribute to UmAy It has been almost a year now since I first heard about UmAy. Throughout this year, I lived through the busiest months of my life, then moved to Canada for a couple of months, returned from Canada earlier than expected due...

About UmAy Home Space

UmAy Home Space is a place that I will recommend to all of my friends in order to spend some quality time with the amazing host to socialize, to discuss interesting topics, to share different thoughts, to enjoy with atmosphere and pleasant environment. It is the space...

UmAy as a Safe Port

UmAy Home is a place where I will always come back to, physically and emotionally. It is a place of peace and positive introspection. It serves as a safe port during a challenging time, and I was able to look back on my journey while there, as a proper “misafir” would...

How You Can Get Involved

Contact Us 



To Rent

We can host workshops, seminars, trainings, and refugee family reunions as long as an email request is made at least one month ahead of time.

Each applicant and event organization proposal will be evaluated individually by our core team and thus (for the moment) we choose not to impose a fixed duration of stay or work-time as long as the house rules are respected. It is a substance-free space including the garden, and a plant-based diet with zero-waste.

Money Matters

Please consider gifts and donations as we are facing many challenges while working hard to beautify and improve the living and loving conditions of UmAy residents in this corner of the world where the priorities of authorities are not women, immigrants, or nature lovers.

News & Events

Pulling off a Meaningful International Women’s Day/Weekend

UmAy Initiative hosted a highly anticipated and well-planned weekend (06-08 March 2021) with wonderful young people as part of the globally celebrated International Women’s Day/Week/Month. We also welcomed Spring, shaking off the dust and fatigue that a protracted...

Welcoming More Stories

We are happy to have hosted Sara on Sunday the 15th and began listening to her story of multiple successes and resilience. Sara comes from a mixed family (Palestinian and Syrian) in which many familial narratives of loss and displacement still linger wherever she...

Refreshment via a Motivational Talk

UmAy had the pleasure of hosting 6 people from 4 countries yesterday! Our speaker delivered an engaging interactive talk on our back porch where we had the sunshine and Cherry (the queen-cat!) accompanying us the whole time. The talk addressed many issues and concerns...

Some Summer News from Umay

After Nermin’s return with her colorful dresses and masks, UmAy has begun regaining its dynamism and joy despite the hot humid summer days. We are working in the house, the garden, storage units, fences, picking the ripe fruits, discussing the current local and...

Thanks to NatMes

There are times when good intentions, dreams, and sharing ideas and ideals are not enough to get an international women’s initiative going. You need dedicated volunteers. You need people with good budgeting skills and the determination to fundraise. However, in our...

Voices and Silences

Dear UmAy Supporters  and Volunteers, Following the advice of local and national authorities regarding the corona-virus, we decided to limit our interactions and communications online, and we are currently working from home. We feel safe, healthy, and calm, and...

UmAy’s Voice in Oslo (OWRI)

Oslo Women's Rights Initiative is made up of bold and self-made women from MENA region and it offers an excellent opportunity for women to share their work and ideas, to unwind, to exchange insider knowledge and wisdom, and to support each other. Esra Kazanbaş, the...

A Visit to Gaziantep

Ozlem visited the city by the Syrian border where she had a chance to reunite with an old friend and made new friends thanks to her current research on lived religion, a relatively novel concept in Theology. Not only did she conduct interviews with Syrian women but...

01-24 January 2020: Adrienne’s visit

Our energetic volunteer from Oregon spent three wonderful, creative, fun, and productive weeks with us, helping us/UmAy around with everything, including preparing and running workshops with Sevil for the local school students. In total 95 students, 7 classes had...

14 January 2020: Swedish Research Institute of Istanbul

Ozlem attended the welcoming reception and the Q&A at the Swedish Research Institute of Istanbul: "Translation of words, transfer of culture,” a lively and moving discussion on collective voices, displacement, and nostalgia. Namdar Nasser (writer, poet, and...

14 January 2020: Book presentation and discussion with Elif

Elif finished Kıvılcımlar during her UmAy stay and generously presented it with a good introduction in English so that Adrienne too was informed about their 8-month-long leadership program for female university students in Izmir, Turkey. Elif mentioned the highlights...

13 January 2020: Eco-cleaning workshop by Sevil

This training is short but impactful in the way that we will pass it on to others, especially to the local parents through the school activities (see the workshop report’s conclusion). Sevil has been practicing chemical-free cleaning already for years, and is in...

Get in Touch. Get Involved.

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