The book Thanks to my Mother, by Delizia Flaccavento, is a testimony consisting of letters, presented in their original untouched form, that girls wrote to ask for a scholarship. The girls are portrayed in their homes, together with the strongest supporters of their emancipation through education: their mothers.
Education is the key to positive change and the only way out of an already assigned path for girls like these 43, whose testimony and portraits comprise Thanks to My Mother. The testimony consists of their letters, presented in their original untouched form, that the girls wrote to ask for a scholarship. The girls are portrayed in their homes, together with the strongest supporters of their emancipation through education: their mothers.
The fruit of visits to Adana (Southern Turkey), Kırklareli (Thrace region), Niğde (Central Anatolia), Sinop (Black Sea region), Van (Eastern Turkey) and Istanbul, the metropolis with millions of internal migrants from all over Turkey, Thanks to My Mother pays homage to all these women who, despite the adverse circumstances, will not give up their quest for a better life. It also intends to actively engage the readers in the possible solution of the human/women’s rights issue of female illiteracy in a country, which is otherwise rapidly developing and has now the world’s 18th largest economy.
To purchase the book or for any other question contact us directly.
I’m 12 years old, I’m in the 7th grade. I thank you in advance for the scholarship you will give me. I’m the first child in a family of 4. I have a brother. My father has been suffering from a lumbar hernia for 5 years. He also lost the thumb in his left hand after a traffic accident. Since his left hand is weak, people don’t give him work. At the same time, he has got hepatitis B. Due to all these problems, my father has no choice but working for 20 Turkish liras a day (around 10 U.S. dollars, Translator’s Note). I also have to work during the summer holidays; I buy the stationery I need with the money I make in the summer.
I live in a place where the living conditions are tough. Seeing that the only way out is to get educated, I become more and more motivated. From now, on with this scholarship, I will work even harder than before. I give you my word. My greatest dream is to be a teacher.
In my family, I’m the youngest of six children. I’m concentrating on my studies with all my energy. My eldest brother is doing his military service at the moment and my elder brother goes to university in Edirne. My other elder brother and sister are studying in high school. My mother is trying her best to send us to school, cleaning stairs in buildings. But since my mother is the only one working in the family, she cannot make ends meet. I feel so sorry for her because she is putting up with all sorts of problems.
I would like to get an education because I do not want to be dependant on others. As we are in dire economic straits, I am doing my homework under difficult conditions. In the future, I want to attend the Anatolian Teacher Training High School and be a science teacher. But receiving support only from my mother makes me sad. If you help me and support me, I will be able to focus on my target much better and work harder.
Since my school and home are quite a distance apart, I am usually late to class and late to get home and dogs chase me on the way back from school. And I cannot study at home because our home has only two rooms; there is a TV in the heated room and I cannot concentrate when it is on. We do not have a heater in the other room, we cannot buy coal and burn dried cow dung in our stove.
Even though my identity card says I’m 16 years old, I’m actually 19. I go to Van Vocational High School for Girls. I’m in the 3rd year. After school, I work in a perfumery in town. Until now, I’ve always worked to pay for my school expenses. I’ve been studying without any financial help from my mother or stepfather. I’ve been struggling non-stop to study under very difficult conditions. I’ve been fighting against this cruel life, never giving up.
For 3 years, I’ve been studying with the help of the scholarship you gave me, and thanks to you, the load on my shoulders is a bit lighter. I thank you - I mean the people who gave me this scholarship. I wrote to you for the first time two years before receiving the scholarship: I started school in the 5th grade – I didn’t go to school for the first four grades. I joined the ‘’Hey Girls, Let’s Go to School!” campaign. Thanks to that, I started school. I’m very weak in some subjects such as maths and geography, because of the long gap between the first and fifth grade. I cannot follow the reading materials, I’m doing my best, but I still cannot understand some topics.
My mother, though she is a woman, has been both a mother and a father to us; she never let us down. She fed us and brought us up to this day and she made every possible sacrifice so that we could go to school. It was never perfect but we were happy. Our only distress was due to financial problems. For instance, I would sit down to study and would begin to worry about how my mother would support us through high school and university. Or what if she cannot send us to school? Or, what would happen if we got accepted to a university and she could not send us because she had no money? I could not concentrate on my lessons while these thoughts ran through my mind.
There is a constant fear of uncertainty about the future. But in spite of all these conditions, I have 3 ideals: to work hard, to go to school and to succeed. I’m going to study hard and become a pediatrician. As a person who received help to study, I will help those who are in need in the future. I’d like to send my appreciation and deepest respect to all those who have given me this opportunity.
Even though I want to study there are times when I’d rather not to. If you ask me why, it’s because I’ve got no money to go from home to school and back. My father died when I was twelve. My elder brother had to quit school to take care of our family. We get by with just the 300 Turkish liras (around 150 U.S. dollars, TN) a month he earns.
The reason I am asking for a scholarship is so I can continue with my studies. My brother will soon have to leave to do his military service. This means that our family income will disappear and the chances for me to keep going to school will get slimmer.
My economic situation is bad and I have limited resources to study. Winters in our town are very cold. My school is 6 km from my house, but we cannot afford the school bus. So I walk and walk until my feet freeze. You might not be familiar with this kind of cold. In winter my eyelashes freeze. The snow is more than half meter high. But I don’t give up. As the poet Mümin Sekman says: “Stop blaming the wind, learn to use your sails.” But my sails are in your hands. Even if they are made of cloth, I am very much willing to learn how to use them.
Lots of people in our society are unaware of these things. They are unaware of the happiness and honor of reaching out to the poor little girls forgotten in remote villages and encouraging them to stand up. But I strongly believe in education, and that people will have a more modern perspective. Through your support, a young generation with an open mind and full of hope will grow.