Two Afghan sisters learn Turkish, register in Turkey’s university
Sevil Erkuş - ANKARA
Following the Taliban returning to power in 2021, the education of women in Afghanistan has become a controversial topic, where some Afghan women chose to migrate to other countries together with their families not only to ensure their security but also to safeguard their children’s future.
Some of them were able to settle down in Turkey, even realizing their dreams of education.
A 28-year-old Afghan woman, identified by the initials S.P., came to Turkey from Afghanistan in July. She has four daughters and three sons. One of her sons has a medical condition.
Expressing that they could at least sleep peacefully now in Turkey after experiencing horrific nights, S.P. said that apart from their security, concerns for the future of their girl, in particular, made them come to Turkey.
“We grew up in Afghanistan without going to school; we had children. We came here for my children’s future. I hope that my children can now attend school. My daughters want to begin school here as soon as possible. As they see other girls attending school, they keep conveying their anticipation, asking, ‘When will we start going to school mom?” she said.
Two Afghan sisters, identified by the initials G.M. and F.M., came to Turkey three years ago. They are currently studying at different departments in the same university. G.M., 21 years old, said that their main reason for leaving their country is their concern for security and education, adding, “We were concerned about whether we could return home while going to school in Afghanistan. This fear was present in every stage of our lives.”
After a bomb exploded at their school and some of their classmates lost their lives, the sisters decided to leave their country and come to Turkey. With a dream of becoming a doctor while in Afghanistan, G.M. expressed her feelings, saying, “I would never have thought of having to leave Afghanistan without achieving my dreams.”
They started school four to five months after coming to Turkey and got prepared for the Foreign Student Examination by using books and sources they found over the internet without receiving any special assistance. “I would have wanted to study medicine in Afghanistan, I chose economics here. I want to work in the economic sector in the future,” she said.
On the other hand, F.M. is 19 years old and is studying in the Chemical Technology Department at the same university.
“I used to dream of becoming a pilot when I was in Afghanistan. A viewpoint that ‘women cannot or should not perform certain occupations such as be a pilot or police’ exists. So I wanted to become a pilot by rebelling against these ideas. In my opinion, there is nothing that can prevent a woman,” she said.
F.M. pointed at the fact that early marriages took place around them in Afghanistan. “A friend in ninth grade was pushed into marriage and had to come to school later while pregnant. Another pregnant friend of ours was unable to attend classes for one year back in 11th grade. If I was in my own country, I would not be able to realize my dreams, but I have dreams now in Turkey,” she stated.
Ayşegül Yalçın Eriş, the deputy general coordinator of the Association for Solidarity with Asylum Seekers and Migrants (ASAM), indicated that various counseling services were offered to these three beneficiaries. The comprehensive assistance ranges from international protection application procedures to obtaining an ID and from interpreter support at hospitals to referrals concerning scholarships. The ASAM is supported by the United Nations Refugee Agency (UNHCR).