The February 6 earthquakes in Türkiye changed many lives. Two of them are Şirin and her daughter Bahar. Şirin, whom we support within the scope of our project for the continuation of education for children affected by the earthquake, tells her story.

One year has passed since the devastating earthquakes that struck 11 provinces in Turkey on February 6. 576 schools were destroyed or rendered unusable in the earthquake, and problems such as transportation to school, limited classrooms, hygiene, and teacher housing have still not been fully resolved. On the other hand, the children of families who migrated to neighboring provinces from the provinces most damaged by the earthquake continue to face problems of attendance and access to education.

In a project we are implementing in two of these provinces, Adana and Diyarbakır, we are working to ensure that children affected by the earthquake have equal educational opportunities and can go to school. In the project, which we carry out in cooperation with the Netherlands-based humanitarian aid organization Stichting Vluchteling (SV), we distribute school supplies to children, support their enrollment process at school and provide mentoring support to contribute to their academic success. We also use methods such as individualized support and special needs funds to eliminate the protection risks faced by children. One of the children we support is Bahar*.

Bahar is 11 years old and lives in Adana with her mother Şirin. Şirin, 42, fled to Turkey a few years ago from her native Iran due to gender-based violence.

"Everything was fine when we settled here. We rented a house in Adana and tried to build a new life for ourselves. I was earning a living as a hairdresser at home and we were generally doing well. We were waiting to be resettle to a third country."


The lives of the mother and daughter, who registered with the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), received refugee status and were waiting for resettlement in a third country, were turned upside down after the February 6 earthquakes.

Although Şirin's rented house was damaged in the earthquake, the landlord tripled the rent. Şirin accepted this rent because she did not want her daughter to be disconnected from school. This time, the landlord asked them to leave the house for a few days for renovations; when they returned, they found their belongings on the street.

Although Şirin lived with her sister for a while, the owner of that house also caused problems, and the mother and daughter found the solution of pitching a tent on the street:

 "The weather was good, I pitched a tent in the park. We stayed for a few months, but winter came and it got cold. We are sick all the time. Sometimes we go to my sister's house."

Bahar is in the 6th grade. She loves her school. Şirin wants to work, but it is not always easy for a single mother. Even if she finds a job in textiles, the earliest she can leave work is at 7 pm, which means she cannot pick up her daughter from school.

"If I was on my own, it wouldn't be so hard. But when I had a daughter, I was helpless. My psychology broke down. My daughter says 'mom, let's go back home'. And I can't explain to her that we can't go back to Iran."


Şirin, who applied to an international humanitarian aid organization to meet her daughter's educational needs, learned about Support to Life through the guidance of this organization and met us. Within the scope of the project we carried out in cooperation with SV, we provided a one-time cash support to Şirin on the condition that her daughter continued school. Thanks to this support, Şirin was able to reestablish her order. Now Bahar is attending school and Şirin is waiting for the finalization of the resettlement process with her daughter.

Şirin is hopeful about the future and says, "For every fall, there is a rise. I am waiting for that." She says her daughter loves volleyball and plays on the school team. When they go to the third country, they will have a house with a small garden and her daughter will be able to study. "This is not life, it is just a transition period. I am constantly afraid, but at the same time I am full of hope. The future will be full of beauty waiting for us."

Even in these difficult circumstances, Şirin and her daughter do not give up. They keep their hopes for the future and fight for a better life.

* The names of the beneficiaries have been changed to protect their personal rights.

Written by: Ozgur Dogan
Communications Field Officer / Adana

Editor: Gözde Kazaz
Communications Expert / Istanbul


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