The devastating consequences of the war in her homeland forced Sabah, a Syrian music teacher, to flee to Türkiye. She is one of around 3.6 million Syrians who have found refuge in the neighboring country. In Türkiye, many of them face great challenges: due to language barriers, lack of knowledge about where to get help and protection, and hurdles to finding work and thus financial security. CARE is helping on the ground together with the European Union. Since October 2021, 17,600 refugees in the Turkish regions of Gaziantep, Şanliurfa, and Adana could be supported. This assistance will be continued within the framework of a new project starting in October.
Support is just a phone call away
Sabah also had difficulties finding a job as a teacher again after she fled to Türkiye. So she decided to pursue a certificate as a sworn translator in Arabic and Turkish and taught Turkish to Syrian children who had fled. As the Covid 19 pandemic spread, she found a new vocation in a CARE counseling center. As a counselor on a dedicated hotline, she takes about 100 calls a day from Syrian refugees. She translates, interprets, and provides support where she can. „Through this work, I feel I am helping people to have a better life. It gives my life more meaning,“ Sabah says.
More than 15,400 calls have now been received through the CARE helpline, informing refugees about legal, health, or protection services. One case in particular sticks in Sabah’s mind: a woman who was kicked out the door by her abusive husband contacted the CARE helpline in her distress. CARE helped her find housing and arranged legal counseling, after which she filed for divorce. With the help of a small loan, she was able to start her own business and become financially independent. „That woman still calls today and expresses her gratitude,“ she says.
Empowering women and children
Women and children on the run are at high risk of violence, exploitation, and trafficking. Low access to education, gender inequality, and a lack of reliable information about their own rights are just some of the causes. Added to this is the often precarious financial situation of families, which can lead to daughters being married off at an early age and children being sent to work or beg instead of going to school.
CARE, therefore, offers its own telephone hotline and legal advice, as well as so-called „empowerment clubs“ for women and girls. Here they have the opportunity to exchange ideas and receive information about sexual and reproductive health. The women learn how to stand up for their rights and wishes – in the family, but also in their partnerships. Since the project began, nearly 13,600 refugee women and girls have benefited.
In addition, CARE supports refugee youth and children with sports activities and various programs that promote self-confidence. This also benefits social cohesion in areas where refugees live.
The follow-up project starting in October 2022 will also be funded by the EU and will support an additional 17,000 people over the next twelve months.
About EU Civil Protection and Humanitarian Aid:
The European Union and its Member States are the world’s leading donor of humanitarian aid. Relief assistance is an expression of European solidarity with people in need all around the world. It aims to save lives, prevent and alleviate human suffering, and safeguard the integrity and human dignity of populations affected by natural disasters and man-made crises.