In the Words of Kübra Koşar: “After the earthquakes, I see that women’s leadership is more crucial than ever in crisis settings”
Kübra Koşar 24, is a youth leader born and raised in Gaziantep, Türkiye. She is currently pursuing her degree in Political Sciences and Public Administration at Gaziantep University. On 6 February, when the earthquakes hit, Koşar was at home with her little brother. In this article, she shares her experience following the devastating disaster.
I was awake that night, watching TV series with my little brother. When the earthquake started, I leaned over him to protect him. It was a strong earthquake that lasted very long. When it ended, the wardrobe in my room had fallen on us. Our building did not completely collapse, but the interiors were heavily damaged.
Following the earthquake, women and men in our neighborhood split into two large tents. We stayed in the same tent with 20 women. We cooked and ate together. When we were kids, we used to set up a tent and play in it. It felt as if we were staying in the tent to play, just like we did in our childhood. Sometimes it feels like what we are going through isn't real.
My close family members are all safe. Nevertheless, we lost 24 members of our extended family due to the earthquakes. The healing process is not easy. Everyone around us have lost their homes, families and their livelihoods.
We were lucky enough to have a house in Yelliburun, a village in the İslahiye District in Gaziantep, which was not affected by the earthquake. A few days later, we decided to move there for a safer space to live in. We had to re-enter our house to get our valuables, even though it was damaged. People affected by the earthquake that have no access to clean toilets or showers still risk entering their houses in damaged buildings to meet their needs.
I am the Leader of Youth Branches in Gaziantep Metropolitan Municipality, once we moved to the village I got in touch with the municipality for the coordination of essential supplies and their distribution. My family was in the catering business, and we used to have a cafeteria in the city center. With our previous experience, me and my family cooked for our neighbors in Yelliburun and distributed food.
Through this difficult time, I see that women’s leadership is more important than ever in crisis settings. I feel glad that I am a part of the earthquake recovery efforts and wish to continue as long as it is needed.
I had many plans before the earthquake. I am a senior in Gaziantep University Political Sciences and Public Administration and I had only one term left until my graduation. Before the earthquake, I was working in a mine cooperative. The cooperative building collapsed. I was about to get engaged. I was also active in politics, and used to visit Ankara, the capital of Türkiye, for this purpose. Now everything is blurry.
We are going through tough times and sometimes we lose hope. I believe that we will get through this disaster with solidarity. It will take time to heal our wounds. Until that day comes, I plan to continue contributing to the relief efforts.
My dream remains unchanged: to become a woman leader in politics. I imagine an equal future in politics, at work, at school, at home, everywhere. I will not give up on my dreams. It will all get better, I believe it will."