Villagers use cigarette money to build school instead

11th, 2014
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A group of men in Malatya’s village of Kömürlük made a pact to quit smoking and with the money that they saved constructed a modern, eight-room elementary school.

Village Muhtar Haşim Güler told the Anatolia news agency that the village’s smokers decided to kick the habit in 2007. They began a campaign to quit smoking for the sake of their health and eventually made a joint decision to spend the savings on education. The idea was immensely popular among the villagers, Güler explained. “The campaign that we began through the Atmalılar Association, founded by village residents two years ago, gained the support of everyone in the village. Within a short period of time, we all quit smoking. We also started exercising every day; after a while we decided to use the money we saved by no longer smoking to further education. The savings of two years resulted in this modern school for our children,” he said.

Construction of the school, which cost a total of TL 1 million, was also supported by people from the village who had emigrated to İstanbul. There are only two elderly people in the village who still smoke, the muhtar said — and the other villagers are still trying to convince them to stop.

Mehmet Kızılkaya, the principal of Atmalılar Elementary School, said that through the villagers’ campaign, which he called an exemplary effort, students were happier and receiving their education in a much more comfortable facility. The two-story school building includes an elevator, a library and a laboratory, he noted. “I would like to extend my sincerest thanks to the villagers and the businesspeople who supported this campaign to leave to future generations an incredibly wonderful legacy,” he said.

Resource: Today’s Zaman

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