HAKKARI - Doğan News Agency
A 19-year-old boy who works as a shepherd in a remote village in Turkey's Southeast won the right to enroll in one of the country's most prestigious medical schools by netting a very high score in the nationwide university entrance exam, the ÖSS.
İrfan Töreci will be a freshman at Hacettepe University's faculty of medicine, one of Turkey's most demanding medical schools, providing education both in Turkish and English, when the academic year starts in September. Töreci's score on the ÖSS allows him to attend classes in English.
�I was simply a shepherd, but I am going to be a medical doctor,� said Töreci, who became a source of pride for his province, Hakkari, which sends the smallest number of students to national universities each year.
Töreci, one of 10 children in a family settled in Yükekova district of Hakari, lost his right arm due to an electric shock when he was very young. But he never lost his hope in life. He continued to study as he also kept herding sheep in his spare time, and he graduated from high school with the top grade point average. His dream was to study medicine at university. Despite his physical disability and insufficient financial resources, he never became desperate or demoralized in the realization of his dream.
Looking for scholarship
Töreci lives with his parents and siblings in poor conditions in a house made out of dry soil.
�I lost my arm because there was no medical doctor in the village at that time,� he said. �But it was not an obstacle for me. Rather, it made me more ambitious. I worked hard and I succeeded. I am happy that I will be a medical doctor in the future.�
Töreci had the chance to attend preparatory courses for the ÖSS in Yüksekova in the final year of high school. None of his friends believed that he would be successful in the exam.
�But I pursued a disciplined way of study. I spent 10 hours a day studying. My teachers also helped me a lot,� he said.
Töreci said he had overcome all the obstacles and now what he needs is financial assistance in the form of a full scholarship. He said he does not have his own financial resources for study nor does his family.
�My parents could not even meet the school expenses of my brother, a student of social work at Hacettepe University,� he said.
Promises for support
Töreci's call for financial assistance did not go unheard. Since the moment his story appeared in the press, promises for support have begun to be made by numerous citizens from different parts of the country.
Hakkari Governor Ayhan Nasuhbeyoğlu made a statement in which he promised a prosthetic arm to Töreci.
�We shall do urgently whatever necessary to provide İrfan first a prosthetic arm and then sufficient amount of scholarship,� he said.
Nasuhbeyoğlu expressed his congratulations to Töreci not only for his outstanding success but also for his contribution in attracting media attention to Hakkari.
�I wish all kids in the country set their main goal in life as early as possible, just as İrfan did,� he said, adding that İrfan's loss of one of his arms led him to formulate his main goal in life at a very early age.
�His ambition showed us many things. We are ready to do whatever necessary to assist him. I thank his family, which spent great effort to grow him up, and his teachers for their contribution to his success,� he said.
Töreci, on the other hand, said he had been receiving calls from dozens of people who would like to give him financial assistance.
�Many people called me from all around Turkey and the world. My phone did not stop ringing yesterday. I thank everyone who would like to provide me financial assistance,� he said.