- A total of 300 Somali students, selected based on test scores, have been granted full scholarships at Turkish universities by the Turkish government, with 200 of them having already arrived in the country. Ten of the students will undertake doctoral degrees, 150 will study in graduate programs and the remaining 140 will study in undergraduate programs in Turkey.
The Turkish ambassador to Somalia, Cemalettin Kani Torun, spoke at the Aden Adde International Airport in Mogadishu as the 200 students embarked for Ankara, from where they will travel to various universities across Turkey.
He said that the remaining 100 students would soon be sent to Turkey. “Knowledge is the only instrument the Somali community needs to develop. And Turkey will always give support in the social and political fields to this end,” the ambassador said.
Abdullah Cafu, head of the Somali Migration and Citizenship Affairs Directorate, also remarked: “Turkey has never spared any support for the Somali people. The Somali government should appreciate Turkey's efforts.”
Ruveyda Hasan, one of the students, was studying at a university in England, but had to return to Somalia due to financial difficulties. She said that Turkey had offered her hope when she was at her most hopeless.
“We will never forget the favor Turkey is doing us,” noted Yusuf İbrahim Hashi, an instructor in Mogadishu University's history department. “Going abroad for a graduate program was a dream that was difficult to realize for me. But Turkey has helped me to live my dream,” he added.
The free university education offered to Somali students is just one part of a massive aid campaign undertaken by Turkey in response to East Africa's worst drought in 60 years.
The Directorate of Religious Affairs and the Turkish Religious Affairs Foundation (TDV) previously provided 400 Somali students with free Islamic education through Quran courses and at imam-hatip high schools in Turkey.
The Turkish charity organization Kimse Yok Mu gave 309 Somalis the opportunity to receive a quality education in Turkey last year.
The UN's refugee agency has declared the East African drought currently the “worst humanitarian disaster” in the world, and has urged other international actors to pledge additional assistance.
Source: Today's Zaman