This is the story of five girls whose lives transformed with Educ8 Program. A story that shows “being a girl” or “coming from a low-income family” does not necessarily mean that you can’t realize your dreams. We’d like to you to meet Dilhan, Gonul, Kesire, Yagmur and Yesim. These young women with sparkles in their eyes, stepped on to a plane to travel abroad for the first time in their lives from the farms of Adiyaman and slums of Istanbul. They came to NYC to grow themselves so that their dreams are more reachable. It was through hard work, determination and incredibly supportive families that they’ve made it here.
Educ8 Program brings exceptionally young women from disadvantaged communities to NYC for a one-month of English program. However, the main goal of the project is much more than improving the participants’ language abilities. It is to change their perspective of life and discover their potential. During the program, participants meet with successful professionals from different fields and discover new career opportunities as they listen to their experiences. This year, selected young women had an opportunity to visit the most intriguing corporate company offices such as Google, NASDAQ and Chobani. What could be more inspiring than having a cup of yogurt with the founder of Chobani and listening his success story, which started in the same demographics as the participants? In addition to meeting amazing people as they visited legendary NYC offices, these young women also had a chance to visit city’s most gorgeous artifacts and famous universities, which made their journey unforgettable.
As we enjoyed meeting these young women during their visit, we couldn’t help but notice how hardworking and determined they are to excel in life. Kesire is at her 3rd year studying Psychology at Ege University and she holds the title of top student since she was five years old. While Yesim, 3rd year Bioengineering major at Ege University, is one of the two female students in the entire program. Her story shatters the myth that engineering is just for boys. We admired Gonul’s commitment to becoming a Psychologist who commutes 4 hours a day to be able to go to school and uses her time on the bus to study. While Dilhan, a medical student at Akdeniz Unviersity, works with her farmer family who grows corn and wheat and help them with the crop during summers.
As these young women focused on their passions and dreams despite all the obstacles such as poverty and discrimination, their families have been a huge support to them. Yagmur’s mother, a true supporter of education, never hesitated to work as a cleaning lady to be able to send her daughters to school. She never let her daughters to work and made sure they were focused on their education. As Yagmur defines her mother as her ‘light’, she did her best to make her proud. She is studying to become a science teacher at one of the top universities in Turkey, Middle Eastern Technical University. Another supportive family is Kesire’s, who lost her father before she was born. But her father’s family kindly took her mother and her siblings under their wings. Her grandfather and uncle, whom she defines as uptight, have many rules in their house. But when it comes to education, they gave her full support.
Meeting Yagmur, Yesim, Dilhan, Kesire and Gonul and listening to their aspiring stories gave us so much hope for the future. Thanks to them, we’ve witnessed once again that nothing is impossible for hard working and bright young women. We have no doubt that they will realize their dreams and make a change in the world. Huge thanks to those who supported Educ8 Program! They gave these women a chance to discover new horizons and gave us hope for the future.