Image credit: Heldáy de la Cruz

Birsu Karaarslan is a former UN employee and a Master’s graduate of the Geneva Graduate Institute. She is now based in Istanbul, pursuing her career in journalism and art. You can follow Birsu on Instagram.

It takes a village to raise a child they say, it indeed does – but where does the village go after we are adults? Is this why we hate being an adult?

I hold a Master’s degree and I am a former UN employee, but I left it all to move back home to Adana and became a kindergarten teacher. Adana is a city in the southeast of Türkiye, known for its kebab and extremely hot weather. It was a really tough time in my life as I had just experienced a huge disappointment with my job which meant literally the WORLD to me, followed by one of the deadliest earthquakes which happened in my region in Türkiye. So, I left it all: my dreams, the city I had wanted to build a life in, my friends and feelings of immense loneliness. I thought: What if I help raising kids? Because I certainly believe that it does take a whole community to raise even one child. Now, I am here to be a hope for them, to contribute to their emotional, mental and physical growth. Since I started this job, I have been realizing how, as individuals, we are in extreme need of a community and the right communities can save lives. In the kindergarten, at least 20 of us contribute to the well-being of the kids with immense efforts.

One day as I was on my way back from work, I was feeling sad and my mum asked me to join her to visit the new born baby of her friend’s. Because I was feeling the blues, I thought being around people would help. As we were there, the baby started to cry in her crib so her mum took her and brought her to the living room where we all sat with her grandparents, neighbours and others. All of us did silly things, hugged and kissed her to stop her from crying, and at that moment I thought: it really does take a village to raise a child. It takes a village to remind children that they are not alone, and that sadness can be overcome. At that moment, I felt resentment towards adulthood and growing up. So I said to my therapist that I don’t want to grow up. But when I say this I don’t mean that I don’t want to get wiser, I mean that I still want to be like a child, where the community still holds me tight and where I still matter – because we often need that reminder.