‘Somewhere Like Home’: Uighur Kids Find A Haven At Boarding School In Turkey

0 52

It holds his most prized possession: a framed photograph of his father.


Feeding the poor and needy is an act that draws us closer to Allah. We earn His forgiveness, mercies and blessings through this act of charity.

“Anyone who looks after and works for a widow and a poor person is like a warrior fighting for Allah?s cause, or like a person who fasts during the day and prays all night. (Bukhari)

His dad has a thick mustache and wears a gray polo shirt and thick glasses. Nurzat, a wispy boy with huge brown eyes and a hushed voice, says he can almost hear him laughing.

“I miss you so much,” he tells the photo. “When are you coming?”

Nurzat hasn’t talked to his family in three years, ever since Chinese police arrested his father in western China’s Xinjiang region.

As Uighurs, a predominantly Muslim ethnic group, Nurzat’s family has faced abuse, imprisonment and discrimination in China for years. More than 1 million Uighurs have been forced into so-called reeducation camps since 2017. Human rights groups say they’re targeted for their religion. At these camps, Uighurs are pressured to renounce Islam and pledge allegiance to the Chinese Communist Party.

Support Islam Religion Guardian
At the present time, we are running on very limited funds. In order for us to run Islam Religion Guardian service efficiently, we are in need of your generous support.


In the past six years, thousands have sought refuge and settled in Turkey, according to Uighur leaders there. Among them are hundreds of children — estimates vary between 350 and 700 — whose parents have disappeared in China.

Most of the children arrived in Turkey with at least one parent but have ended up on their own. The parents were arrested after returning to China to try to get the rest of the family out or to close up businesses. A handful of children, like Nurzat, were sent out of China with family acquaintances.

Without their parents, many of the children ended up living with other Uighur families or distant relatives, who struggled to support them. Some of the children, including Nurzat, were moved in late 2017 by Uighur community leaders in Turkey to a sand-colored boarding school called Oku Uygur (Read Uighur) in the sunny seaside town of Selimpasa, west of Istanbul.

Nurzat has heard grown-ups refer to his school as an orphanage.

“I’m not an orphan,” he says.

Read more:

Subscribe to our newsletter
Sign up here to get the latest news, updates delivered directly to your inbox.
You can unsubscribe at any time

Leave A Reply

Your email address will not be published.

This website uses cookies to improve your experience. We'll assume you're ok with this, but you can opt-out if you wish. Accept Read More

Privacy & Cookies Policy