Most couples treat their wedding day as an opportunity to celebrate and rejoice with family and friends while indulging in some of the finer things in life.
Fethullah Üzümcüoğlu and Esra Polat, a young couple from the city of Kilis in southern Turkey, had something else in mind. Instead of just inviting family and friends, they invited 4,000 Syrian refugees to feast and celebrate with them as they tied the knot last week.
The couple was assisted by a Turkish charity called Kimse Yok Mu (English translation: Is Anybody There?). KYM helps to provide education, health, humanitarian aid and more to millions of people around the world, and has taken on the responsibility of feeding the refugees in Kilis.
Around 4 million Syrians have fled the country since civil war broke out in the summer of 2011; Turkey has taken in roughly 2 million of them.
The idea of sharing the wedding with the Syrian refugees apparently came from the groom’s father, Ali Üzümcüoğlu, who told a local newspaper that he hoped the act of generosity would inspire others to do the same.
“We thought that on such a happy day, we would share the wedding party with our Syrian brothers and sisters. We thought this was best done with Kimse Yok Mu who could provide a truck. God willing, this will lead to others doing the same and giving food to our Syrian brothers and sisters. For us, it was an interesting wedding dinner,”
the father said.
According to a spokesman from Kimse Yok Mu, Fethullah and Esra pooled the money that family and friends sent them for their marriage, using it instead to host the thousands of refugees living in and around the city at their wedding.
Esra, the bride, was a bit apprehensive when her husband-to-be told her of the idea. She explained to i100,
“I was shocked when Fethullah first told me about the idea but afterwards I was won over by it. It was such a wonderful experience. I’m happy that we had the opportunity to share our wedding meal with the people who are in real need.”
In a statement released by Kimse Yok Mu, the couple added,
“We wanted to help our Syrian brothers. Seeing the happiness in the eyes of the Syrian refugee children is just priceless. We started our journey to happiness with making others happy and that’s a great feeling.”