The footage of an 11-year-old Syrian refugee child sitting in a wastepaper cart with a book and pencil in her hand has changed her life following the outcry it stirred on social media in Turkey this week.
The child was identified as Halime Cuma whose parents came to Turkey about a year ago from Syria, Demirören News Agency reported on Sept. 25.
After the Turkish Education Ministry intervened, Halime started school on Sept. 26.
Halime lives with her six siblings, mother, and father in the Arnavutköy district of Istanbul. She is the oldest of seven children. Only the youngest child in the house, named Hamide, has been going to school until this week.
The Arnatvutköy Municipality announced it would pay all of Halime’s education costs.
“I am so happy I will be closer to books at school,” Halime said.
Until her video went viral, Halime were not going to school. She instead helped her 35-year-old father, Abdülrezzak Cuma, collect wastepaper for recycling from the streets.
The 11-year-old told the agency that when a passerby shot the video showing her sitting in the wastepaper cart, drawing on a coloring book.
“I love my father, mother, and siblings. There is no other person except my father in our house who is working,” she added.