A Turkish teenager whose culture expects her to “stay at home and get married” has revealed her hopes to study for a degree in Perth.
Deniz Kokcu, 17, from Gaziantep – near the Syrian border – says girls in her area are told to focus more on finding a husband than getting an education.
She also says women are seen as “less superior”.
But she wants to break social norms by completing a degree in computing science in the Fair City – where she has family.
Deniz is trying to raise £8,000 to cover the costs of her first year at University of Highlands and Islands (UHI), but plans on funding the rest herself.
She hopes to one day return to her home city and teach the skills she has learnt to other girls and women.
‘People think if you’re a girl you are less superior’
Speaking to The Courier, she said: “In Turkey, if you’re a girl you have issues living your own life – a lot of people think if you’re a girl, you are less superior than a boy.
“I don’t really like that. People told me that I’m dreaming by trying to do this but I tell them that I’ll do it.
“My mum really supports me with what I’m doing and my dad is OK with it too – it’s my life.
“My auntie, uncle and two little cousins live in Perth.
“They tell me so much about the UK, Scotland and Perth and I see so many photos and videos of the place.
“I feel like this is a place where I would want to live.”
Earthquake survivor wants to teach girls new skills
Gaziantep was devastated by a 7.8-magnitude earthquake in February, which killed more than 50,000 people throughout Turkey and Syria.
Despite living through the experience, Deniz’s house suffered only minor damage, with everyone in her family – including her two siblings and parents – unharmed.
While life for people there is slowly getting better after the disaster, Deniz wants to improve the lives of other women in the city by teaching them new skills.
She added: “If you can teach someone something it makes you happy.
“I’ve been interested in computers since I was young – you can do so many things.
“I want to one day build a small computing kindergarten where kids can learn to code games.
“With girls, if they feel more confident they will also want to go on and study.
“I want to teach girls, teenagers and even middle-aged women because anyone can learn something when taught correctly.”
Perth-based English language charity Esolperth has been involved in helping Deniz learn English and get her fundraiser set up.