Superheroes of Hope

It was Tuesday and we set out with the excitement of visiting homes of families who benefit from Support Market.

Those streets that I pounded looked like extremely distant from the city although I have lived in that region for a long time. Yet I was in neighborhood that is probably only 15 minutes of distance from the headquarters of our association.

Using navigation, I managed to reach my destination. I was standing before a building that seemed to barely survive after long battles. When I got out of the car with a bit of timidity, but also curiously, I had an eye contact with someone staring at me bare foot with a runny nose, and some bread in his hand. When I slowly approached the child, I did not quite know what to say. ‘’Where is your mom, handsome boy?’’, I said, all of a sudden. Then Ilknur Hanım who heard my voice appeared at the door. “Welcome,” she said.

When we entered the building, I realized that their flat was even further down, below the basement floor. The flat was cold, and its gray walls were unpainted and dirty. The sight of that flat's door, when we went two floors down from the entrance, is still imprinted in my memories. It was full of halls and wood worms kept chewing it until it was damaged.

I finally made it inside. There was a heavy musty odor and the room had no windows. Just like the household members, I crouched down. I could not help looking around and was wondering how a family could live in a house like this. There were seven people in the room, including me. Three siblings, who are close in age, a mother, father, and a grandmother.

The family looked a bit anxious, and stared at me, wondering why I was there. Then I thought I needed to soothe them as much as I can, and told them that I came from Support Market and wanted to talk to them.

They started to tell things with excitement, and it looked like they had really been longing to talk to someone for a while. They fell in love with each other in a village in Sivas, and then were forced to move to Istanbul due to some family issues.

Ahmet Bey had worked in construction sites for a while. He got jobs without any life safety and any insurance to look after a family he started with the woman he loves and got married to, Ilknur Hanım. He had to get a prosthetic leg due to amputation in an occupational accident. He said he still had difficulty in walking.

On the other hand, Ilknur Hanım tries to look after the little ones. One sits on her lap, and the other is under watch. The eldest one studies.

“You see how we are, sister”, she said and continued: “I cannot work because of our kids. Our mom is ill, and we need to look after her. And my husband is literally doomed to work in temporary jobs due to that occupational accident. No one warned us. We thanked God that we brought our three kids into the world. We have nothing else left to do. No hope on the horizon.”

My life flashed before my eyes. What kind of lives there were! People who lost their hope!

“Don’t lose your hope”, I said. I told them that they will be able to continue shopping at Support Market, and that we will help them for finding a job as well, and then I left.

When I arrived at the association, we immediately had a meeting with our team. Nothing further was needed to say about the family because it was all clear: we had to do something as soon as possible.

We immediately issued another approval for aid so that they could benefit from Support Market again.

And then we visited a firm in close proximity, which outsources people for beadwork on clothing. It delivered clothes and beads to houses early in the morning, and then collected them after a few days. With the help of their positive approach as well, Ilknur Hanım started to work for this textile firm without leaving the house, and would be able to contribute to the household’s income.

As for Ahmet Bey, we deployed one of our supporters with high occupational and social standards.

In a week, we were able to become a part of a family’s story and create positive impact. Perhaps, we would never have a magic want, but we have a strong team and sincere supporters.

Although this was our very first experience, it ignited a degree of motivation that would live inside us for many years. In our subsequent visits, I always felt myself like a super heroine that was ready to fight for Support Market beneficiaries. However, I surely knew that the actual superheroes were these people who held onto life and managed to survive under all those toughest conditions.

Merve Gömüç – Support HR Communication Specialist