My Dream, My Story
By Gunay Aksoy
I was 12 years old. I have heard that I can’t do many things simply because I am a girl. I wanted to follow that ‘guidance’ provided by my elders, but it just didn’t make sense to me. One day my teachers recommended me for a summer study program in the United States because I have had really good grades. But my family and relatives decided it was not safe for a girl at my age to travel abroad alone, so they sent my brother instead.
Yes, I was only 12 years old when I faced my first case of gender inequality. That incident changed my outlook on life going forward. Since then I worked very hard, I had a very successful academic life followed by a thriving career in finance. Late last year, I had an epiphany. I realized I was driven by my past in trying to prove to the society that as a woman I was just as capable as men and with that Educ8 Empowerment Education Program was born. We have different strengths and weaknesses, but we are all human. Unlike anything else I have done in life, I find endless energy and strength to keep fighting the inherent biases in society that places girls at a disadvantage from a very young age.
Turkish Philanthropy Funds enabled me to turn my dream of bringing five young women in college with economic difficulties from Turkey to New York for English education into a reality. TPF shared their platform and services and made a tremendous impact on the direction of this cause. I am thankful to all the members of this wonderful organization for their support. We are working closely with Cagdas Yasami Destekleme Dernegi (CYDD), a vetted TPG grantee partner and they are assisting with selection of the candidates and planning process in Turkey. The program will expand these girls’ horizons and help them believe that they can dream big and not be stopped due to their gender, background, and economic status. If you also believe in addressing gender equality in education, please join me!”