Street children’s dreams come true
Sunday, January 7, 2007
The Solid Waste Recycling Project aims to educate street children, giving them a brighter future than they could ever have hoped for
ISTANBUL – Anatolia news agency
The dream of some 350 street children has come true, thanks to income from the Solid Waste Recycling Project carried out jointly by the City Council Environmental Commission and Mersin Street Children Association, the Anatolia news agency reported.
Children who were surviving by begging or selling chewing gum and handkerchiefs on the streets are now attending school via the project, which has been carried out by five municipalities over the past four years. Each of the children has different aspirations and dreams, but most want to become a teacher in the future.
Mersin Street Children Association Chairwoman Sabahat Aslan told Anatolia that members of the association collect solid waste products like cardboard from homes within contracted municipalities. �By selling the waste we make money. That’s how we started to finance the school expenses of the street children,� she said.
Stating that the project was gradually growing and achieving its purpose, Aslan added: �As we see the success of students in their school, we are proud of our project. With this project, we are producing solutions to the problem of street children all over the country and bringing wealth to the nation which would otherwise be wasted.�
Aslan called for all people to join the project and said: �Maybe each carton or similar product thrown into the trash will make a street child’s dreams come true. This is why, if our people become a little more sensitive about [recycling] solid waste, our project will be able to reach its goal more rapidly.
The dream and success of two brothers:
Brothers 14-year-old S.A. and 12-year-old M.A., who were trying to make a contribution to their family’s economy by begging for money on the streets of Mersin, were saved from the streets and are now attending school. They both want to become teachers and due to their success at school are warmly appreciated by staff there.
S.A. said that he had been begging on the streets and had sometimes felt bad when he saw his peers attending school. He stated that officials from the Mersin Street Children Association had reached him and proposed he give up working on the streets to attend school and expressed his excitement at started attending the school with the following words:
"Every time I saw my peers attending school I was jealous of them. I talked with my family and accepted the proposal from the Mersin Street Children Association. And I started wearing the school uniform I had wanted so much. I feel very different in it. Now I am studying with my school friends … Although I came to school under narrow circumstances, I will become a teacher and work so that other street children can also attend school, because I don’t want other children to go through the feelings I did."