By Ozcan Yildirim and Selma Kasap
ANKARA (AA) – Halima Juma, an 11-year-old Syrian girl supporting her family by collecting wastepaper, was enrolled to the first grade of a school in Istanbul when Turkish officials stepped in, according to a Turkish Education Ministry source on Wednesday.
Upon stories circulating in the media on the plight of Juma and her family, Turkey's Education Minister Ziya Selcuk instructed his ministry to make schooling arrangements for the girl.
The ministry contacted father Abdulrazaq Juma and promised to cover educational costs of Halima, who had not appeared in the state directory of school-aged children due to a documentation error.
“It will be ensured that our children of school age will be enrolled,” Family Minister Zehra Zumrut Selcuk said in a written statement.
The girl was working to help her parents to feed her family in Istanbul.
Juma received public attention with a viral footage on social media, when bystanders noticed the young girl poring over a book while sitting in a large handcart she used to gather wastepaper to help support her six siblings.