Tenacity and hard work pay off for Lizge, now a student in her second year at university


Lizge comes from a village of 70 people where her parents support the family selling goat milk and cheese. She is 20 years old, the eldest of three siblings and the first in her family to attend university.

Despite their meager financial means, Lizge’s parents always supported her desire to attend university. To be eligible for admission and a scholarship, she needed to be among the top graduates in her high school class. Lizge succeeded, and she was admitted to the university of her choice in Izmir. She is now a second-year student, with a career in nursing in her sights.

“Attending university was a huge success in my life. The hurdles had seemed too high,” says Lizge.

One of the hurdles was her need to leave her small village for the first time – alone – and to make her own way in Izmir, a city of some 3 million people. Another hurdle was expenses. She applied for and received a housing scholarship, which helped.

Lizge’s continued tenacity “paid off” again when she learned about and joined the Sparks program. She credits it with helping her become more outgoing and more creative.

“I became less shy, learned what it takes to be a leader, and how to use all of the skills that I learned effectively.”

 Through Sparks, Lizge learned not only how to be a more effective communicator and leader, she also gained awareness about life as a woman in Turkey. Thanks to the exposure to powerful women role models who have overcome significant challenges, Lizge began to believe she too could become strong and outgoing.

“I saw that women can overcome the pressures of society, and learned that we should never give up, how to be patient, and how to stand up against the pressures [that hold many women back].”

In short, Sparks has led Lizge to set higher goals for herself and has provided the path to achieve them.

“Now I know what I need to do to reach my goals, and I am motivated!”