THE GOLDEN CHILDREN OF WASTE « Balikesir Last Minute – Balikesir24HAT


Dear Umut Şen and Aylin Gençel, animal rights activists who fight to improve the living conditions of almost a hundred dogs left in the former Altınova Mahallesi landfill of Ayvalık district in Balikesir. Our dear friends are trying to raise their voices to spay, adopt, vaccinate, feed and solve other issues with the Instagram account they opened as ‘Golden Children of the Trash’.

Comrade Umut and Aylin from our dear friends; They claim to have created the “Golden Children of the Trash” platform to enable dogs to live in healthy conditions. They also have demands for Altınova landfill improvement.

Here are some of those requests:

Cleaning the garbage area.

Establish a protected living space here (if possible fenced and containing different compartments) and controlled for dogs

Take mothers and puppies to different compartments protecting them from other dogs

Trying to adopt puppies that have completed their first month

Prevent dog population growth by speeding up sterilization procedures

Trying to split the number of dogs available using several different fields

Establish a viable and sustainable model for the future

Do not take animals to shelters except for sterilization procedures


Dear readers, we have listened to the requests of our volunteer protectors. Let’s be guests in the world of the “Golden Children of the Trash”, which expects support, attention and above all love from all of us. And we are in front of you with our pleasant conversation with the wingless heroes of Ayvalık.

It is very difficult to associate the beautiful Ayvalık, world famous for its historical streets, with the dumps. But I guess things are not what they seem. Are there two different Ayvalıks? What would you like to say about the neighborhood dumps?

We talk about this subject, which contrasts with the beauty of Ayvalık, almost everywhere. Even during our meeting with Governor of Balıkesir Hasan Şıldak, Ayvalık’s views were shown on the TV screen. We talked about the state of the dumps as “hell in heaven”. Disorder in old dumps is present in some parts of Ayvalık. To give an example; The area around the 4 km long Küçükköy road behind Ayvalık Dog Shelter is in very poor condition.

As sensitive citizens living in Ayvalık, you told us that there is a completely different life in the garbage. You don’t just say. You have acted. Thus, the Golden Children of the Trash were born. Could you tell us about this process from start to finish for our readers?

The Golden Children of the Trash started with 13 puppies born to a very sweet dog at Altınova Beach. Following a collective work with the people of the district, 13 puppies were saved. The babies were adopted via social media. After that we said; If we unite, we can be effective, we can change the lives of souls. Why don’t we also bandage the bleeding wound at the landfill? With the support of a few volunteers from time to time, our platform has grown in a natural flow with the little work done. And it continues to grow.

Can we know you who set up this social responsibility project, which is an example for all of us?

I am Umut Şen, a public relations graduate from Anadolu University. I studied theater at various places. I can describe myself as a versatile person. Almost everything catches my eye. I enjoy learning and researching, then synthesizing that knowledge. I come from Ayvalik. I am a very restless man. I have a hyperactivity problem. More specifically, I turn crisis into opportunity. I use this energy for the benefit of nature, animals and people.

My name is Aylin Gençel, graduated in sociology from Hacettepe University. I come from Ankara. My family loves animals passionately. Since my childhood, I grew up with animals and nature. I was doing organizational work for a while. I have been to many foreign countries. There are so many beauties that can be taken as models that it is not enough to say them. I aim to present and disseminate the experiences I have acquired. As people become more aware, the seeds of change are sown. And our life is shaped around this awareness.

How do the people of Ayvalık approach stray animals? Do they support you? Have you collaborated with neighborhood institutions and organizations?

In our opinion, the people of Ayvalık love animals. But this love remains local. In general, we find that the number of volunteers taking action to defend lives in the region is low at the moment. The number of volunteers helping those struggling to survive in the dumps is also low.

We are in constant contact with volunteer friends. We have friends, albeit few, who end up with us like a scarf during our feeding days and in the transportation process. We also received some low-level institutional support. But you know what they say; It is not the force of the water that pierces the stone but its stability. We also believe that if our work continues consistently, support will increase.

You’ve hosted an event at the Orhan Peker Showroom for the past few months. What was the reaction of the public? Will you have similar works in the next few days? Do other artists living in Ayvalık contact you?

The exhibition gave us great pleasure. As a philosophy of life, we are not people disconnected from exhibitions and artistic environments. Our animal loving friends did not leave us alone that day. Thank you. Assessed in the context of public opinion, the exhibition was widely covered by local media outlets. Frankly, we were proud. Because forming public opinion and being the voice of souls in the trash are our primary objectives. By the way, we have another exhibition we plan to hold in May.

Artist friends add our page and communicate with us. We are also in close contact with the Ayvalık Art Factory. We cannot go without saying. We will meet the actors of the Three Sisters series, which soon started filming in Ayvalık. They are very sensitive to animals.

What does your day look like as Golden Boys of the Dumpster? Is it possible for us to work with you as a volunteer?

We share ideas among ourselves to see if there is anything that needs to be done during the day. Obviously, if we have food on hand, it looks like we have to go and feed ourselves that day. After feeding, we need to do a field sweep. Because an abandoned baby can be a wounded soul. Or our cabins and watering holes may have been damaged.

Of course you can work with us. You can contact us through our Instagram account.

In your opinion, what should be done to provide a better life for our dear friends? What is the problem that needs to be solved first in Ayvalık?

Providing a better life for our dear friends requires an extremely deep and multidimensional response. But in short, we can say this: be solution-oriented. Believe me, it comes back.

The main problem to be solved in Ayvalık is related to local government bodies. They need to move the topic up the priority list. Others can be added later. A solution will certainly be found in the light of scientific approaches and conscientious attitudes. But above all, you have to clearly “know” the subject and give it importance.

What would we do if we wanted to help the Dumpster’s Golden Boys financially? How can we reach you for this?

You can send mom. At the Puppy Shelter, there is a volunteer, Ms. Yeşim, whom we love and respect. You can support him in areas such as diapers, food, medication for the puppies.

You can contact us through our Instagram account; cac_ayvalik

On April 4th Stray Animal Day, you had a gripe. Why did you react like this?

To be frank, we did not reach the expected number that day. Unfortunately, some of our animal loving friends are weak to act.

As a result of the messages we received later, we learned that many animal lovers were unaware of this conversation and that the timing was not very good. What can we say… Maybe our platform will grow. And the next time we talk, we won’t be.

Finally, is there anything you would like to pass on to our readers on behalf of our dear friends?

We would like to share a phrase we love from the book The Little Prince by Antoine de Saint-Exupéry: “You are responsible until your death… Everything you care about”

When we start taking responsibility for the things we love, when we start raising our voices, everything will change!

For those who want to help the mother:

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