As a young woman, Hasibe Tekin always dreamt of becoming a teacher, to help other children grow up as good citizens. But that remained just a dream, as poverty and social pressure kept her from receiving any education at all. Born in the Turkish province of Elazig in 1966, Hasibe faced life's hardships from a very tender age. Her mother died when Hasibe was only three; after her father re-married, Hasibe and her brother were forced to move in with their grandparents in Bismil.
Growing up without parents was always a very painful part of Hasibe's life. Her grandfather was a hardworking man, who tried his best to provide for his two grandchildren. However, his meager earnings as a laborer were not enough to take care of them all. Hasibe was unable to even attend school, not only because they were poor, but because her grandmother opposed sending girls to school. She went through life working as a day-laborer. Despite all of these obstacles, Hasibe never gave up her dream.
When she married, although her husband was hardworking and honest, they still remained poor. Her husband tried many different ventures to improve their situation. He was a ranch-hand, then a door-to-door salesman for eight years. In the mean time, his health was deteriorating slowly, so he decided to rent a "Kooperative" shop. However, he had no capital to buy goods for his shop. It was at this time, in late August 2003, that Hasibe heard of the Turkish Grameen Microcredit Project (TGMP).
She is one of the earliest members of TGMP's Bismil branch. After receiving the initial 7 day training, Hasibe received her first loan on September 4, 2003, the very first day of disbursement at the Bismil. With the loan, she purchased sugar, rice, and oil for selling from her shop. While supporting her husband's endeavors, Hasibe also used the loan to make some handicrafts, which she sold from her shop for extra profit. Before TGMP membership, Hasibe and her husband used to borrow from moneylenders at very high interest. By now, Hasibe is on her third loan cycle, having utilized and repaid all of her previous loans properly, and using entire profits to improve her income and business.
Being illiterate herself, Hasibe realizes the importance of education. With the profits from her business, Hasibe now hopes to educate her children and provide them with a life she never had. Hasibe is the proud mother of 11 children, five of whom are studying and the rest working. She also knows how valuable it is to pursue one's dreams. She has fought poverty and social ills; she has faced all the hardship of being an illiterate woman wanting to improve her situation. Having overcome all of these challenges, now that she can provide her family with food, clothes and healthcare, Hasibe is satisfied that she has fulfilled her dream after all.
Case study by Tania Sharmin