Cansu*, a 10th grade student who returned to the school she had to leave after the earthquake in Kahramanmaraş, is a good example of how children's potential can be revealed when given the opportunity. Our social worker Nurbahar Tunka tells her story.

The 6 February Earthquakes affected the education life of 4 million children living in 11 provinces. Kahramanmaraş, as one of the provinces that suffered the most damage from the earthquake, still feels the effects of the earthquake not only in terms of basic needs such as infrastructure and shelter, but also in terms of social problems such as access to education.

Elmalar Neighbourhood of Dulkadiroğlu District, one of the most devastated districts, was a place where the welfare level was low and socially and economically disadvantaged families lived before the earthquake. After the earthquake, these problems became chronic. As the Support to Life team, we visited this neighbourhood many times after the earthquake, accompanied by a psychosocial support team, a social worker and a psychologist. We observed that especially girls between the ages of 14-17 not being able to attend school was a major problem.


The story of Cansu, a student who participated in our psychosocial support activities, is an important example of how supporting girls bears fruit.

Cansu, 17, who first lived in a tent and then in a container with her family because their house was severely damaged in the earthquake, could not continue her schooling due to financial difficulties after the earthquake: "Because of the earthquake, I had to repeat a grade. I really wanted to go to school, but neither my family would allow me to, nor the means."

Cansu, who met with our team, said that her family did not allow her to go to school and that everyone in the family listened to her grandfather. Our psychologist then had a meeting with Cansu's grandfather. After the grandfather's and the family's approval, the problem of how to go to the school, which was far away, arose, because a shuttle service was required. Support to Life teams also contacted the school and ensured that a regular shuttle service would take Cansu and her friends to school: "I started school two weeks after the bus service was sorted out, and the Support to Life team provided the stationery."


Education life, which interrupted due to the earthquake was difficult for Cansu at first: "After all, I had started school again after a long break, it was difficult. But I never gave up, I continued to study, I studied to my lessons at school and got good grades. I participated in all the art competitions and sports activities organised at our school and got degrees."

Cansu, who wants to study at the School of Physical Education and Sports and become a sports teacher in the future, participated in bowling, futbol, orienteering, athletics, long jump and relay competitions at school and got different degrees in all of them. Havva, who also has a talent for painting and says that her goal of becoming a teacher is now much more solid, says "I will never give up on this dream"; "I will strive hard to study well in high school and achieve my dream. Maybe I would never have had such a dream if Support to Life had not convinced my family and supported me to go back to school. Maybe I would not have achieved any of these successes. Now I know that I will succeed."

As the implementing partner of our strategic partner Diakonie Katastrophenhilfe, in our project funded by the European Union, we provide basic needs in the earthquake zone and carry out comprehensive studies in the field of child protection and child safety to minimise and eliminate possible risks. Cansu's story is a good example of how children who cannot access education under difficult conditions can achieve many successes with support. We will do our best to increase these examples.

*The name of our beneficiary has been changed to protect her personal rights.

Nurbahar Tunka
Social Worker / Kahramanmaraş

Editor: Gözde Kazaz
Communications Expert / İstanbul


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