Two times a year, Assyrians Without Borders grant scholarships which students in Iraq, Syria, Turkey, Iran and Lebanon can apply for. These scholarships are an effective way for our organization to help students financially with their studies. Besides from the financial part it´s also a way for us to encourage them, to show them that we believe it´s important for us that the Assyrians (also called Syriacs or Chaldeans) left in those countries have the chance to educate themselves.
In previous years we have had applicants from almost all of the countries which the scholarships are directed to but because of the unfortunate situation in the Middle East there were only applicants from Turkey this term (Spring 2016). Our hope is that the situation improves so that young Assyrians in Iraq and Syria as well can once again aim and focus on higher education.
Nevertheless, we are still happy to announce that we granted scholarships to six students in Turkey this year. One of these students is Meri Saglamoglu. We contacted her to ask some questions about her, the scholarship and her studies so our donors can learn more about one of the students which they have helped through their donations.
Can you tell us a little about yourself?
I was born in İstanbul in 1995 but have lived in Mardin until I began my university studies in Istanbul 2013. I started to study Child Development at Aydin University, in Istanbul where I live with my brother.
Tell us about your education.
Child Development is a four year long program which is a part of the Faculty of Health Sciences. I have successfully completed the first three years. I have one year left to earn a Bachelor Degree.
Why is it important for you to study?
For the previous generations in our Assyrian community in Mardin it was a luxury to study at a university, because of many reasons it wasn´t possible for many. It is in about the latest 10 or 15 years that young people have started to leave their home to study at a university. For my generation, conditions are better and because of that to study now is a must rather than luxury. We need to be a part of the global life, so we should study hard and try to work to improve our community’s conditions.
How is the scholarship helping you?
Thankfully, the scholarship was an important help for me at these three years. Thanks to my success at the university I have a 75% discount for the tuition fee, the remaining 25% are paid by my family.
Still, my other expenses were such a big issue. My brother is still a student and need support and for my family to support both of us would be difficult. The scholarship was important from that point of view. Thanks to the scholarship I was relaxed mentally which helped me to concentrate on my studies. The Scholarship was one of the most important things at my school life.
What about your future, what goals do you have? Where do you see yourself in the future?
After I earn the Bachelor Degree at Child Development I want to start my Master Degree studies and become specialized on speech therapy for children. This is the main goal in my future career, because this area of specialization needs many more experts in Turkey. In addition, developing creative toys for children is another goal of mine, so I want to develop at this area too.
How did you hear about Assyrians Without Borders?
Some of my relatives in Sweden told me about the organization Assyrians Without Borders and the possibility to apply for a scholarship.
We thank Meri for her answers and wish her good luck with her studies and future career.