Gamze Elibol – TEKSEM
Gamze Elibol, who is a wheelchair user due to the polio at the age of 1.5, performed the plays she wrote and directed at the State Theaters when she learned that she was not accepted to the Faculty of Fine Arts Theater Department due to her physical difference, and after the troupes and performing arts events, she voluntarily participated in. In 2002, she established the Culture, Art and Education Center for People With Disabilities of Turkey (TEKSEM) in order to support people with disabilities freely participate in arts and achieve their dreams.
Gamze Elibol, known as "Umut Abla (Sister Hope), initially started out with 3 people and staged her musical theater plays that she wrote and directed, together with her gradually growing team at the State Theaters in different cities of Turkey. Elibol, who so far has performed 500 plays and eight musicals on many different social issues such as traffic accidents to violence against women, meets the educational and medical needs of more than 120 disabled girls with all the income from these shows.
Umut Abla tells a story about life and differences to children with Turkey's first wheelchair user puppets named Biricik and Alicik; and contributes to the economic well-being of 35 mothers of children with disabilities through her social enterprise called “Engelsiz Amazonlar (Limitless Amazons)”.
By following her dreams, Gamze Elibol continues to make a difference in the lives of the people she meets so that art can be accessible, women can gain their economic freedom, and female students can continue their education.