I recently attended a presentation by AÇEV, or the Mother Child Education Foundation in Turkey, a wonderful NGO that has vastly improved both adult and early childhood education in Turkey. In Turkey, approximately 52 percent of adults are primary school dropouts. In some poorer regions, one out of every two women is unable to read or write. Combining uneducated or illiterate mothers, poorly educated fathers, and compulsory education that begins at age seven amounts to a majority of Turkish children beginning primary school with extreme disadvantages. AÇEV believes that children need to obtain a better preschool education at home if they are going to be successful in school and have a chance at succeeding in life. One of AÇEV’s programs, the Mother Child Education Program, puts mothers in a Mother Support Program that addresses reproductive health and family planning and then educates them on cognitive development for children about to enter primary school. The program aims to close the gap of socio-economic disadvantages and prepare children for school. The achievements of this program are impressive: it was able to reach over 265,000 mothers and children. Research focusing on the Mother Child Education Program has shown that not only did the children of the mothers who had gone through the program become more academically successful, continuing their schooling for longer and obtaining better-paying jobs as adults, but that the participating mothers changed their own lives. They communicated more effectively within their homes and experienced increased self-confidence regarding their parenting skills.
The program also affected the husbands of these mothers. When a father saw his wife teaching his children, he was able to acknowledge the importance of his wife and the importance of his children’s education. Imagine the impact on the view of women for the boys and girls whose mothers were able to prepare them for school and who were able to help them with their homework. From a Woman Stats’ point of view, AÇEV is doing much to further women’s equality in Turkey. They also have programs that teach women to read and write, giving them power and freedom within a male-dominated society. Attending this presentation and learning of the results of simple programs like this reinforced my belief in the ability of mothers to affect a society through the teaching of their children. Learn more at http://www.acev.org/index.php?lang=en