Turkey's Changemakers - Fark Yaratanlar Yeniden Bakış Melek Erman Köni

Uploaded by turkeychangemakers on 31.08.2012

Cemile Bilgin In 2000, she migrated from Malatya to Istanbul with her family.
Because of their economic situation,
her parents could not send their daughter to the school in their village.
When she moved to Küçükçekmece (a district in Istanbul) with her parents and 9 siblings,
she didn't know how to read and write.
Following the illness of her father,
she started to work in order to contribute to the family budget.
Every morning on the way to work,
the words around her were unknown, the world was foreign and life was meaningless.
When she got married and moved to Esenler - another district in Istanbul- in 2007,
she thought the same destiny was waiting for her.
But it was not. She attended free literacy courses at the Melek Erman Köni Education and Cultural Center.
That was the beginning of her new life.
- My father didn't let me go to school.
They should let their daughters go to school, especially in the East.
They shouldn't keep us ignorant.
My family didn't have enough money to send me to school.
But everybody has a lot of opportunities in this era. Girls should go to school and learn.
Otherwise when you are illiterate, you cannot go anywhere and you have to ask other people to show you the way.
That's why everybody should learn to read and write.
I will send my children to school. I will spend whatever I have for this purpose.
I will clean flats and earn money to send my children to school.
They will not be illiterate like me.
When Sabancı Foundation Turkey's Changemakers Program first visited Melek Erman Köni Education and Cultural Center in 2009,
the literacy classes were very crowded.
Since then, 1700 women received education
and new classes were opened in the center to respond to the increasing demand.
In three years Melek Erman Köni Education and Cultural Center grew
and the hopes of women in the district of Esenler increased.
Today the number of women receiving education in the Center reached 3200
and the number of volunteers giving the courses is now 260.
- We go to the cinema, theatre, museum, exhibitions and concerts altogether.
In this way, the participants not only know İstanbul better but also see the other side of these walls.
Above all, they realize the meaning of being an individual
and they put more effort in educating their children.
At the Melek Erman Köni Education and Cultural Center, literacy courses,
additional courses for students and support trainings for parents
are provided with the support of AÇEV (Mother Child Education Foundation),
also a grantee of the Sabanci Foundation Grant Program.
And also thanks to the Sabancı Foundation Turkey's Changemakers Program,
preparation courses for the university exam are now also available at the center.
The volunteers of the "Life in May Cooperative", which is another participant of the Turkey's Changemakers Program,
have now started to help students in Esenler.
- The cooperation with the Melek Erman Köni Education and Cultural Center started thanks to the Turkey's Changemakers Program.
The "Life in May Cooperative" conducts training exercises in 4 different locations.
We have been offering courses at the Melek Erman Köni Education and Cultural Center since July 2012.
Basically we offer three different courses
and we mainly focus on preparing for the university exam.
Melek Erman Köni, a successful business woman,
is the architect of this changemaking project that offers a new chance
at life to migrant women in Esenler.
Her dreams for making a difference in society have no limits.
- I will try to make these women earn their own living. This is my target now.
I want to create an environment where women can earn their own money.
They are very successful cooks and they can also serve food here at the center.
I want to turn this place into a business. That is my dream.
Melek Erman Köni has taken a step in order to help migrant women
participate more actively in society.
Through teaching thousands of women how to read and write at the Melek Erman Köni Education and Cultural Center,
she has made an unforgettable difference in the lives of many.