From Iraq to Ankara Children's Council
2 Iraqi refugee girls selected for Ankara Metropolitan Municipality Children's Council
Ehlem and Fatma, are 13 years old two daughters who fled with their families from the war in Iraq came to Turkey. First, they started school in Turkey and learned Turkish. Now with their peers, they work and help for the children and nature in the Ankara Metropolitan Municipality Children's Council.
The path of Ehlem and Fatma crossed at the Children's Commission which established 1.5 years ago at the Ankara Community Center in Mamak of the Association for Solidarity with Asylum Seekers and Migrants. The Children's Council authorities, who recently visited the commission, encouraged children to be candidates for parliamentary membership. Ehlem and Fatma, who were candidates in the elections held on November 3, became two of the three refugee children in the assembly when the results were announced.
Ehlem who is the youngest of her family came to Turkey with her parents and five siblings six years ago. Her favorite lectures are painting, music, and Turkish. Her future dream job is to become a brain surgeon. Ehlem says she wonders about the structure of the brain and adds that “ I witnessed people's diseases caused by tumors in the brain, I read in magazines too. I want to help them and cure them for free.”
Fatma fled from the war in Iraq and came to Turkey 4 years ago with her mother and 5 siblings, her father is still in Iraq. She is also the youngest of the family and her favorite lectures are painting and math. Fatma’s dream job is to become a Turkish Teacher. The two girls say that the election of the membership of the Children's Council, in which they were uneasy, was very excited. Ehlem and Fatma are proud to succeed in the election with the support they receive from other children.
During her tenure, Fatma wants to work to prevent animals from being treated badly. On the other hand, Ehlem plans to work to keep nature and playgrounds clean. The common agenda of the two is to make studies that will raise awareness for children with autism.
Ehlem says that “Children with disadvantages such as autism and disability have dreams that cannot be realized. I'm sure we don't have, but I don't say they have more. Let's not ignore them. If I want to be here it is for to make theirs and our dreams come true.”
Regarding the World Children's Day on November 20, Fatma points out children's right to play. Fatma says that “When I was in Iraq, we did not have any playgrounds near us. After our arrival in Turkey thanks to ASAM I have gained too many friends. With my friends, I learned to go to playgrounds, play games, and have fun. I’m calling out to parents, help and support our children. Let them play outside, do not let them stick to technology too much.”
Ehlem thinks that the most important right of children is their protection of health. Ehlem says that “A children, cannot use their rights without being healthy. We can see child labor is spread all around the world. They collect garbage. This issue has to be dwelled on. Parents who encourage children to work in younger ages should be charged”
With your support and help, children like Ehlem and Fatma can enroll in the school programs and raise their voices in society.