Adiyaman, Turkey


Photographer: Aydin Cetinbostanoglu

Year of Submission: 2016 (Educators Edition) 

Ferhat teaches in a village school in Adiyaman, near the Euphrates river in south-east Turkey. The school only has one class, and this year just sixteen students. Every morning, Ferhat travels 70 kilometres to the school by bus. After checking the register, lessons start. He begins with his youngest students, then switches to the older ones, then to the ones in between. He often finds himself teaching three different subjects at once. Across Turkey’s countryside, teachers such as Ferhat prepare their students as best they can for adult life in rural areas. The expectations of most of their students are not high. Girls want to be midwives or kindergarten teachers. Boys want to help run the family business. In his spare time, Ferhat studies law. Every summer he travels to Istanbul to take another round of exams, paying his way by working in a restaurant. At the end of the long vacation, another grade completed, he returns to Adiyaman for a new school year with his tiny band of students.