The Silo family work at wellheads as agricultural workers. They faced many difficulties, but were determined so send their children to school. As Support to Life, we are happy to have facilitated this process. Social worker from Support to Life, Betal Turunç, tells us their story.

Around this time last year, we were traveling in the rural area of the Kızıltepe district of Mardin, southeast Türkiye. As we approached the family’s house amidst seemingly endless fields, we saw two children with their feet buried in mud, wide smiles on their faces. Their names were Zinar* (8) and Siyam* (12). Their house was small: a single bedroom, a bathroom, kitchen, and a restroom outside. Mother, father, and 3 children were living here. We sat in front of the house with mother Keriman* and the children.

Keriman (31) is a calm and confident woman. After we introduced ourselves, she started to tell us her story:   

‘We decided to come to Türkiye when the war in Syria broke out. We settled in Mardin, Kızıltepe, to be close to our relatives, and so we wouldn’t have language problems. We were unable to make a living in the city center because of the unemployment, and couldn’t pay rent, energy and water bills. That’s why we moved to this rural area and started working at the wellhead.’

Migration continues from field to field

‘We always have to work for low wages, we work very hard but cannot get rewarded for our efforts. We work to survive.’

The Silo family started their work at a wellhead at a village 10 km away from Kızıltepe center in the beginning of 2021. But they didn’t earn enough to meet basic needs of the family, so they had to work at several wellheads simultaneously during the year. They moved to wherever there more work to do.

Since they moved around a lot, they could not register their children for school in the village, because registration was based on their address. When they asked around what they had to do, they could not get clear answers.

‘Just like other people, we want to have a house, our children to have a good future, get good education and become teachers, doctors…’

That is when Silo family reached out to us. We met separately with the school administrations where the children will be newly registered and with which they have been registered before. First, the family’s address was updated and then the children were enrolled at their new school. Thus, Zinar and Siyam started going to class again. Siyam even received a scholarship through another NGO.

A few months later, the Silo family contacted us again. Their fourth children, Delal, had been born but they were facing problems in getting her an identity card. Because the baby had no identity, they could not take her to the hospital for controls. This time, we contacted official authorities to expedite the process and helped get Delal a temporary protection identity card.

Following their dreams standing on their feet

‘If there is a wall we can lean on, that is Support to Life. We can consult them and receive information when we have to.’

We are still in touch with the family. In our last discussion we learned that the family had to move again, but this time they completed all official procedures themselves and the children are continuing their education.

As the implementing partner of international humanitarian organization Diakonie Katastrophenhilfe, funded by EU humanitarian aid, the purpose of our project is to assist refugees living in rural areas – like the Silo family - to access basic rights and services such as education, health, and registration. It is very valuable for us to see them gain competence to find solutions to their own problems.

Siyam dreams of becoming a lawyer and says she wants to ensure nobody is wronged. Zinar confidently says he will be a businessman. As a social worker, the Silo family’s story reminded us once again the importance of our responsibility. As we were sitting at the opening among fields sipping tea, I believe in these two children sitting across me, talking about their dreams, Siyam and Zinar. They will succeed, the future is theirs.

Betal Turunç
Social Worker, Mardin

Editor: Çiğdem Güner
Support to Life Communications Manager

*Names of our beneficiaries are changed to protect their personal rights.


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