Message from the Founder

When my father came home in the evenings, he would wash his injured hands and feet in hot water and then we would put some lotion on his hand. “Dad, why don’t you find another job?” I asked one day. “What else does an illiterate person do, my girl?” he said in a voice resigned to his fate. He smoked Bafra cigarettes, as if he were suppressing his hunger for life with the deep inhalation of cigarette smoke. He bore the loss of not being able to read in the pen in his jacket pocket and in the newspaper he brought home. We kept accounts and took turns reading the newspaper with my mother. One day they called from Kızıltoprak Police Station. “Are you Ayten Zara?” the voice asked. I said “Yes”. “Your father is at the police station. He wants you, come quickly!”. I ran away in fear. My father was embarrassed when he saw me and bowed his head to the ground. His face was purple and covered in blood! “The people living in the building next to the construction site where he worked beat your father because he was working noisily!” said the police chief. At that moment, a bitter loneliness and compassion filled my body, as if my father had died. I shuddered. My eyes filled with tears. I went and hugged my father tightly. My tears mixed with my father’s blood and flowed. This memory hangs on me like a red stain. I was just a child. Back then, I dreamed of World Human Relief. I made a heart and a life for myself from my father’s blood and sweat. Thank you, my father. And then life gave birth to me…
Both in my own country and in other poor countries, I have seen people whose souls were wounded and whose pain was broken to their flesh and bones. As a young college student, I worked with traumatized, marginalized, poor people. The further I went, the more closeness I saw.
I witnessed how many people who have nothing to give, how they can share a bite of bread even though they are hungry and thirsty, how they can love compassionately even though their souls are bruised, and how human warmth is as big as the sky. But I have also seen that where there is no love, violence and hostility are common. I saw that people suffering from poverty and deprivation were selling their bodies for a morsel of bread, that sex industries profiting from this situation were increasing, and that these industries were working breathlessly to spread child prostitution.
I learned that “love” is the greatest wealth in this life, that those without love are the poorest people, that the most important condition of being “human” is to share pain, poverty and wealth, and that we can build a loving, peaceful world by holding on to each other. I wanted us to have a “shelter” at a time when we needed to hold on to each other’s humanity and hope for life; I founded World Human Relief. For you…
Mevlana has a saying that has remained in my heart ever since I heard it; “Light a candle in the face of pain, you will rise like the sun…”
With love and solidarity,
Ayten Zara

At a time when we need to hope for life, have a “refuge”..