Married in her teens, Hatice Eren has been working as a farmer non-stop for almost three decades in Mardin (Mêrdîn), a Kurdish majority province in southeastern Turkey. As generations of her family have been working in agricultural work, during her childhood years and her adulthood, she always coped with harsh economic circumstances and worked to earn her own money.
”We have suffered a lot due to poverty throughout our lives. When I look back at all those years spend by working, I see that we have never had wealth. We have never been given value as agricultural workers,” she told Jin News.
With poor economic income, no state support, increasing fuel prices and the landlords asking for half of what they earn, Eren always faces financial distress, yet she never thought to take her children away from school, like many farmer families in the region had to do out of poverty.
All her motivation to work was to be able to cover the school expenses of her eight children and to ensure that they would have a brighter future, in which they would not have to work as a cheap labour force like herself.
”I moved from the village to the district centre, so that my children could study. I was working in Yedikardeş village, and I was travelling between the village and the district everyday,” she said.
Four of Eren’s eight children graduated from college, one of them finished medical school and awaits to be appointed to a hospital as a doctor and the other three are all teachers, who have not yet been appointed to a school by the state.
“I tried very hard for my children, so that they could have a good education ,However, none of them were appointed by the government and all my efforts were wasted. We are currently working in the fields with my children now. I never wanted my children to become a farmer like me, but we had no choice in the end,” Eren said.
What breaks her heart is not working, she stressed, but working with her children in the same field. “Why would you not create job oppotunities for our youth?” she asked. “My educated children now share the same destiny as me. Give these young people a job so that they would not regret having studied.”