A talented 86-year-old woman from southern Turkey, who has never received a formal education, is teaching weaving as part of the European Union's Erasmus student project “Nature, Traditions and Identity in Youth,” according to a report by Ihlas News Agency (IHA).
Teslime Çetin from Antalya, a Mediterranean city in southern Turkey, does not know to read or write, but she has a passion: She has been weaving since she was 15. Now, Çetin is teaching her craft to youth.
She recently taught her first weaving class in an Erasmus project coordinated by Estonia and participated in by Turkey, Bulgaria, Portugal and Poland.
The project aims to teach traditional arts and crafts to young girls, subsequently creating an information exchange between the participant countries that will ensure the endurance of traditional arts. The Turkish branch of the project is in Antalya's Sports High School.
Speaking to IHA, Çetin said: “I want them to do more by going back to the old generations. Let them weave carpets and learn traditional crafts. These children will be doctors, lawyers and teachers, but it would be good if they learn these crafts as well.” She added that all she wants for herself from her students is their prayers.
Pointing out that the traditional crafts are reappearing, “Planting, homemade bread, gardening are all back. Our traditions and customs have been lost for 40 years. Now I'm following on TV. The things we used to do have started to appear again. Art is a ring, let them wear it on their fingers,” the 86-year-old said.
The principal of Antalya Sports High School, Murat Yılmaz, said: “Our school is dedicated to sports, and our students are all successful in their branches. We wanted to create a project to introduce our culture both to the students at our high school and students abroad. We wanted to create a cultural exchange between participating countries.”
Students from Turkey, Bulgaria, Portugal, Poland and Estonia will take part in exchanges to learn about each other’s culture in the upcoming months. This exchange will also help traditional crafts survive, IHA reported.