The projects developed by the Turkish Red Crescent use the motto ‘One Touch-One Thousand Lives’ and intend to help Syrian families who have escaped the civil war. The projects aim to bring Syrians and locals in Turkey to share and ‘understand’ each other for the healthy integration of Syrian refugees into Turkish society.
The Community Centers at Sultanbeyli and Bagcilar, both in Istanbul, are providing occupational courses to trainees in order for them to have professions as well as socializing with the local community.
The courses provided range from training in languages, computer, hairdressing, and tailoring. In addition to professional courses, the centers also provide psychological support to the victims of civil war and provide various social activities.
The community centers have been providing courses under the Red Crescent’s Immigration and Refugee Services since 2015, both to Syrians and locals. The first center was established in Sanliurfa, southeast of Turkey, and the following centers were opened in Sultanbeyli and Bagcilar, Istanbul.
The total number of community centers devoted to refugees at the moment is 15 in 14 different cities around Turkey. These centers focus on psychological support, occupational courses, workshops, social activities, language, and cultural programs intended for the adaptation of refugees into Turkish society.
The occupational courses are given with the cooperation of ISKUR – Turkish Labor Institution – which is an institution under the Ministry of Family, Labour, and Social Services.
Since 2015, more than 525.000 people attended the community centers, taking various courses and support programs under 4 main themes: ‘health and psychosocial support,’ ‘livelihood programmes,’ ‘protection programs,’ and ‘social cohesion.’
While primarily directed to refugees, the programs at these centers also attract local citizens for courses and social activities. By this way, the local people are able to come together with Syrian refugees and have the opportunity to socialize together.
The staff at the community centers are composed of specialists in various areas as well as volunteers from university students and locals who spare their time in order to help refugees.
As of November 2018, 61.192 children and teens have been reached through child, youth and volunteering programmes. 161.973 people benefited from harmonization with local community & social activities, and 158.339 people have been reached through psychosocial & health services. 1.002 people have been provided with job placements and referrals in Community Centers.
*Written by Selahattin Emre Celebi