Yeter and Ali, with their two daughters, Sultan 2 and Seher 6 months moved to Australia around 30 years ago. After moving to Australia, having two more daughters, Ezgi and Berivan and working in Sydney for 13 years, the Ozonal’s moved to Mildura in the year 1999.
Education has always been an important cornerstone of the Ozonal family, daughter Seher notes “because we’re the first in our family to go to University, we’re living Mum and Dad’s dream of gaining a tertiary education, they gave up a lot so we could all go to uni. Education is so important because it gives you the independence to financially provide for yourself and your family,” Seher said.
Younger sister, Ezgi said, “Mum and Dad really stood by me, they would say ‘if it’s something you want to do, if you have that desire, then money can’t stop you.’ It’s that family value that has really influenced our education and given us the dedication to be successful,” she said.
Berivan graduated with a Bachelor of Primary Education, Sultan with a Bachelor of Arts and a Graduate Diploma of Education, Seher with a Bachelor of Social Work with Honours and Ezgi, this year, with a Bachelor of Community Development and Health Promotion Planning.
“It was so important to us that we had a local University, because for our family moving away wasn’t an option. They wanted to keep our family together whilst providing us with further education.” Seher said.
Reflecting on their time at University, Seher said “we all found ourselves and our identity through our education, whether it was through an assignment, my thesis or the experience of University, it allowed us to find our own path”. “Having the support of the lecturers and such a small, intimate campus, really made you feel like part of the La Trobe family and that everyone was there to help you succeed,” Ezgi said.
For parents, Yeter and Ali they’ve had one child at University since 2002, that’s 15 years of support and they’re so proud of their girls. Ezgi explains, “when we go out to our community, they’re just so proud and Dad is bragging about us to everyone, even people he’s just met at the coffee shop.”
“I know Ezgi’s graduation will be emotional. When she walks down with her degree in hand, for Mum and Dad that will be the moment they think “we did it, mission accomplished. They are our number one fans and couldn’t be more proud of what we’ve achieved.” Seher said.
“The way we look at it is, our education is a gift to ourselves but it is also a gift to our parents. It’s something they’ve achieved through supporting us all for 15 years and allowing us to reach our dreams,” Seher said.
The final Ozonal sister, Ezgi will graduate today at the Mildura Arts Centre along with about 100 other excited students.
Media Contact: Ash Ryan 03 5051 4069
Photo: Father Ali with daughters Sultan, Ezgi, Seher, Berivan and mother Yeter on the day of Ezgi’s graduation.