Nine-year-old Merve Tekinay from Konya Abdullah Aymaz Primary and Secondary School sent a letter to express her support for Pakistanis accompanied by one year’s worth of pocket money and her favorite toy.
In her letter, Merve said she saw on the news the difficulties that Pakistanis faced because of the flood and remembered that the Pakistani people supported Turkey during the Battle of Çanakkale and the War of Independence.
“We are your friends. We share your pain. Our prayers are with you,” Merve’s letter read. She sent TL 150 to the country along with her favorite toy. Touched by Merve’s gesture, Pakistani President Asif Ali Zardari told the entire Pakistani nation about the gesture on television. Zardari ordered that an appreciation medal be delivered to Merve. The medal was presented to her during a ceremony at her school. Merve received the shield from the Pakistani Embassy’s undersecretary, Muin-ül Hak, and the embassy’s media attaché, Abdul Akbar.
“I wish I could help more,” Merve said. Konya’s provincial education director, Halil Şahin, and the school’s principal, Hüseyin Taş, made another gesture to the Pakistani officials and presented TL 10,000 check to them to assist with the relief efforts. The officials said they will not ever forget the charity and brotherhood of the Turkish nation.
Meanwhile about 2.5 million Pakistani students are currently unable to attend school, as the school buildings either became unusable or were used for displaced people after the flooding. The academic year started in the country last week, with students continuing their education in temporary classrooms set up in tent cities.
UNESCO representative Ömer Amal said the damage to the education sector will affect the future of Pakistan. While noting that education levels of people in rural areas was already low, Amal said: “Because of the flooding, more than 9,770 state schools were damaged, 2,700 schools were totally destroyed and 7,000 schools are partially damaged. When we add private schools, the number exceeds 10,000.”