Saadet Aydınsoy was born in a low-income family as the daughter of a gendarme. Early on, she embraced an attitude towards life, which she taught her children later on: “With its bad and the good, everything in life is for us. The only thing we can control is our reactions to situations. Dishes need to be washed? It’s your choice to create happiness by singing or misery by moaning while you do it.” Saadet chose to sing all through her life.She was a very smart and hardworking woman. She won a full scholarship to attend the prestigious Kandilli High School for Girls, which was one of the top-level boarding high schools for girls in Turkey. Then, she continued her studies at İstanbul Technical University and graduated as an electrical engineer in 1968. She met my father, Halil İbrahim Aydınsoy in college and got married right after graduation. Soon after, she gave birth to me, and my brother, Barış.
Her 30 years of professional life was full of accomplishments. She was the first civilian Turkish woman to dive in a submarine in 1970. She led countless research studies at TUBİTAK (The Scientific and Technological Research Council of Turkey) as well as at the Turkish Atomic Energy Authority. She was one of the key members of the team who developed the first tollgate software system for General Directorate of Highways in Turkey. She was one of those incredible women who worked restlessly and never got tired.
Unfortunately, she was diagnosed with cancer at the age of 47 and retired. You may think she took some time for herself to beat her illness but she didn’t. Her understanding of battle against cancer was a bit different than usual. Instead of resting to recover, she decided to give everything she had to her community. My mother always had an amazing awareness of the feelings and emotions of other people. Her empathy combined with her good friendship with Türkan Saylan, another Kandilli High School alumni and the founder of Çağdaş Yaşamı Destekleme Derneği (ÇYDD) moved her towards philanthropy. From developing software systems for ÇYDD to providing scholarships for children coming from low-income families, she touched upon many lives.
Sadly, a life full of accomplishments and kindness had to end because of cancer. A couple of months before her 60th birthday, my mother passed away. However, her memory still lives through the opportunities we are creating in her name. We took over her mission to create equal opportunities for girls. Through TPF, my father, my brother, my husband and I are all providing scholarships for girls. Even my daughter, Maya is contributing to my mother’s dream. For her 7th birthday, instead of birthday presents she asked her family and friends to donate gifts to children diagnosed with cancer. This year, for her 9th birthday she gave up on her birthday presents again and asked all her family and friends to make donations to the Humane Society. I always felt sad that my mother, who loved children so much, never had the chance to meet her grandchildren. However, I know that she would be really proud of Maya, who inherited most of her precious qualities such as kindness, generosity and unselfishness. Even though I lost my mother at an early age, I’m blessed with my daughter who reminds me of her every day.