(*) SOSROOMS.COM for stray Animals
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A high school student has started a charity project for what he calls the three fundamental aspects of the world, by making use of global online hotel booking giant Booking.com’s affiliate program. Tolga Babür is raising funds for three charity organizations through bookings made on his website
Tolga Babür, a 16-year-old high school student, has started a charity project for what he calls the three fundamental aspects of the world, by making use of global online hotel booking giant Booking.com’s affiliate program.
Speaking to the Hürriyet Daily News & Economic Review, Babür said everything started with a childhood dream. “I always loved animals and when I was a kid I used to dream of doing something to help the stray animals. Last summer, I applied for an internship at Booking.com where I learned about the affiliate program.”
He told the Daily News that the affiliate program was comprised of integrating Booking.com’s search engine to another website, and when any booking is made through the other website, then Booking.com pays a commission.
“So, I thought about starting a website and raising funds for stray animals through the affiliate program,” Babür said, adding that he decided to add other charity organizations to his list. “I though the three fundamental aspects of the world, animals, human beings and the environment, should receive equal amount of benefit from such a project.”
Babür’s website Sosrooms.com, equally distributes the commission raised from the bookings between Unicef, Animal Rights Federation in Turkey, or HAYTAP, and World Wide Fund for Nature, or WWF. Each charity organization receives 33 percent of the fund. He was introduced to the HAYTAP by one of his teachers, who is a member of the association. “We even visited the animal shelters from one of them I adopted my dog.”
According to information provided by Babür, the website is designed by a professional firm and his parents provided him with the capital to cover that cost.
“I could never have done this without them. The internship at Booking.com was even thanks to my parents.”
Both Babür’s mother and father are in the tourism business and his mother, who has a friend working at the Booking.com, mediated his internship process.
“I want to receive my college education in the U.S. and I was informed that such internships were quite beneficial in the application process. That is why I applied for one. My parents helped me a lot.”
According to data Babür provided, more than 33 bookings were made in the first month after the website went online and the website raised 500 euros. The website went active in late February.
“The best part of it is that you can contribute to a charity organization without paying out from your pocket,” Babür said, although the case hardly applies to him. “We have agreed with private auditing firm Price Waterhouse Coopers, which makes quarterly audits of our balances to make sure the money is spent according to initial promises.” Babür is paying the company for every audit it undertakes. “But all this money is in a way spent for a charitable purpose,” he said.
Sosrooms.com is offered in five languages in addition to Turkish: English, German, French, Italian and Dutch. “At first, the website was in English. I translated it to Turkish, but the rest was the doing of Google translate. I went over the French translation a bit, but I am planning to ask for professional help for the translations in near future.”
Babür wants the website to go on and not to be left behind as a high school project. “My ultimate aim is to be able to raise enough funds for these charity organizations so that Sos.cam can be a sponsor of one of the solid projects these organizations are making. For example, like sponsoring the monthly animal food costs of one of the shelters Haytap is supporting,” he said
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Tuesday, April 19, 2011
ISTANBUL – Hürriyet Daily News