At the age of 17, Mazlum is mature beyond his years. He has been contributing to the family income since the age of eight and is known in his predominantly Kurdish neighborhood as a conscientious citizen. Mazlum's formal schooling, however, is severely lacking. In his third year of primary education, he left school after his teacher hit him for speaking Kurdish on school premises. He can read and write and his Turkish is fluent, but he has been unemployed for a year and has had much more difficulty finding work than his more educated relatives. "I wouldn't be in this position if I'd stayed in school," he says with visible regret.
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