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Koray Kara, 30, Photographer

Deliler ve Veliler Derneği > Success Stories > Koray Kara, 30, Photographer

“I came to the Deliler Coffeehouse one autumn day. It was a week after my birthday. I waited for Ali Denizci from morning till evening; because I didn’t know exactly when he would come. While I was sitting at the corner and trying to warm up, Ali DENİZCİ suddenly came in and said, “You, come here.” I was stunned. Out of so many people, why he called me? “Tell me,” he said to me. I told my story. ”

What he remembers best about his childhood is that his running away from the house several times. Her mother was abused by violence and this disrupted Koray’s psychology. Eventually, he also became subjected to violence. He was six or seven years old when she first ran away from home. Even though he did not want to return, the cops brought him back home. His father was having attacks – just like him – when he went crazy and he couldn’t control himself. His father was beating his mother, then little Koray was trying to block him, and he was beaten. Koray, who was beaten all the time due to any kind of action he showed -which did not matter it was proper or a part of a game he played as a child-, says, “My nose would bleed all the time and they would take me to hospital. After such a childhood, I always started to run away from home. The last time I ran, I was 13-14 years old and I was in Istanbul streets. ” He struggled to survive in one of the most dangerous and poor areas of Istanbul, Tarlabaşı. Unfortunately, he was a blond and bright (!) Boy and was very vulnerable. He was exposed to many dangers from his pedophile, thief, murderer, mafia, but he was getting rid of all of them in his own words, God was helping.

Then he got stuck in drugs. In fact, he turned to drugs to control his excitement. While people were drinking to enjoy, he was slowing and pausing himself. He felt that there was something wrong with him but he did not know exactly what it was. He was crashing in prostitutes’ homes, streets, benches, parks, atm kiosk -which used to be closed area in the past-, hospital gardens or emergency rooms. He was able to find a closed area to stay. Once a person begins to change, he cannot easily express some memories of his past. All volunteers at the Deliler Coffeehouse know this and sometimes read each other at a glance, regardless of age, gender, profession, beliefs. When we asked where he was eating, Koray never wanted to get into that subject. We said “Eyvallah”.

Coffeehouse volunteers who never lost their faith in human beings were very surprised when they learned that Koray had a 14-year-old child. Koray was 30 years old and always lived on the streets; how would this be? But it had happened. Koray explains his feelings on this matter and says, “I have a child I have never lived with… My mother takes care of my child like her own son. I do not have a paternity awareness since I am still a child.”

Koray experienced great attacks and learned that he is bi-polar at the time he lived in the streets. Doctors said that he could forget his bi-polarity and attacks if he was interested in something else. He also started taking pictures. He bought a nice camera after a friend sent money to him, and he made a lot of money. He even took photographs of  Ajda Pekkan (!)

Panic attacks did not allow Koray to pull himself together and he was falling off again as soon as he got up. Koray, who got stuck in drugs and fell on the streets, said he had nowhere to go. When a friend directed him, he came to the Deliler Kahvehanesi. He came without knowing whether he would be accepted or not…


“Although I behave badly to people, it felt like a slap as people treat me well in return”

Ali Abi listened to him. He said he could take care of the coffee shop and stay at the guesthouse. Stating that the purification process started after that, Koray expresses his first experiences when he came here: ““Although I behave badly to people, it felt like a slap as people treat me well in return”

It was something he didn’t know. It took time to get used to it.

Then, by asking the question “Why?” over and over, he finally began to discover something about him. He abandoned drug use without hospitalization.


Koray helps the Deliler Coffeehouse when he is good – because he uses medication and is not good in some periods – as much as he can. He carries incoming donations and meals cooked. He shops from the market or bazaar. He’s trying to help everything as far as he can. Believing that he has started to take better photos after arriving at the coffee shop, Koray dreams of becoming a good Instagram photographer in the future. He feels that he is getting there. People react positively to his photos and he feels overjoyed. He hopes to help his son one day and see his mother more often if he can earn enough.

It has been a year since Koray joined us. And this year we celebrated his birthday together. Volunteers were organized immediately. Cakes were bought from the pastry shop where we always buy cake. The evening activities at the coffee shop were expected to be over, and Koray was surprised by a cake with three candles on it. These three candles were human love, volunteering and permanent friendship.