Meet with Hadra
Progress Report from the field...
It will be really hard to give a project update not revoking our emotions and humanity in this post. As we are sharing our progress about our Syrian refugee program, we will take a moment to recognize many of the hero’s we met last year & "Imece" organization serving refugee children & families who have been the victims of war.
Distribution of essential goods to refugees by Imece volunteers
“Imece Initiative” located in Izmir Turkey is founded as a volunteer relief organization in 2014 by students, and has supported local people in need of basic necessities. With the significant refugee migration taking through the Aegean sea in 2015, it shifted its efforts to help refugees. You would recall from the media and the scenes you saw in the news in a period of 6 months, Oct 15 to March 16, about 80,000 refugees went through inflated boats from Cesme Izmir to the Greek island Chios in the hopes of finding a better land to live.
The location of the refugee settlement areas where Imece serves
Many of these people didn't survive, and the ones survived were caught by Turkish Jandarma (armed forces) and rescued from capsized boats. Imece organization provided humanitarian aid for many of these people, families, children, women living though many nightmares and ambiguities to settle into a permanent life. And there came the EU -Turkey deal, which restricted further flow of refugees into European countries, and these migrating refugees ended up settling in the land around Cesme area. Imece has been missioning as life support, from distribution of food, to hygiene products, baby milk, diapers, blankets, heaters & stoves in the last 2 years. In the picture above, you will see their operation locations, and where these families are served.
As BTF, we met with Imece team last year in summer 2016 as they sought investment and partnership for their long-term “Education Village” project. There were many children to care for, and the need to provide a continious learning & development environment was paramount. With this education village concept, children from the areas are going to be brought in the village, and will be offered educational classes, and while their families create a self-funding, sustainable means of supporting their lives. To enable this vision on the education front, we invested $10,000 to finance 3 class size containers in the Fall of 2016. The second and most recent support program we integrated for Imece is the recent distribution of our pre-school education kits which we as BTF invested around $35,000 to produce and distribute via NGO’s serving refugee children living in Turkey.
How did the children find these education kits?
Starting on June 7, so far Imece distributed and used 250 kits in 5 unofficial tent camps (pre-village phase) in the Aegean region of Turkey, They build up an open air classroom in each of those camps once a week and practice latin alphabet and Turkish language with the older children. Meanwhile, the younger children have time to draw and the volunteers coach and play educational games with them. BTF preschool-education kits have enhanced the quality education and provided enrichment activites for children of all ages. We found out, through the feedback from our partners, that even children way older than 7, up to the age of 13 years find the Preschool Education Kits very helpful and enjoyable. Many of the children in Imece program have never been to school in their whole life, thus they are learning to sit down & focus on an education activity, collaborating with their friends. Further, when Imece started the Mobile Education Project in December 2016, they learned quickly that the contents we reckon suitable for the western world needs to be adjusted down for the children who have been though the war, and lacking prior education opportunity. For these reasons the pre-school kits have been valuable to their work for children even older than the kits were meant for. Guided by 2 teachers Jasmin and Mazhar from Imece, the older children used the story books included in the Pre-school education Kit, the younger children used the crayons to draw pictures or enjoyed coloring. The content of the kits blended perfectly into Imece’s program within the last 8 months.
Meet Hadra, beautiful and courageous girl from Syria
Hadra is 11 years old. Imece met with her in one of the unofficial camps near Torbali, in Camönü, where she is quite new. Herself and her mother arrived only two months ago together with one sister and two brothers. They had to flee their home in the countryside very close to Aleppo after she lost her father in a bomb shelling. Yes, she and her siblings are orphans, due to this brutal, never ending war in Syria. Her mother, Amina, is sad & devastated most of the time but coping to stay strong thinking about the future of her children. She is providing for her children, and recently joined other Syrian refugees working in the farm-fields for a very limited salary.
Hadra has two more sisters which are older than her. They are married and still live in Syria, one in Damascus and one near Aleppo. She misses her sisters, relatives very much and can not wait to go back home to be with them again. As much as she misses her home country, Hadra is rightfully worried about every family member that is still there. She misses her school very much. When she grows-up, Hadra wants to become a doctor because by becoming a doctor, she will be able to help sick and injured people of whom she has seen too many in her young life. She is grateful and content at the moment for the education that Imece provides !
As we stated in the beginning, we would like to dedicate this post to the real heros serving on the ground, Imece leaders, and volunteers who have been relentlessly helping refugees, putting a smile in children, playing with them, organizing children activities, supporting women going though the hardship to provide them a better life. Their work is beyond imaginable.
The education village is coming together with BTF's support
We look forward to supporting Imece further in their Education Village project, partnering with them to build a sustainable education & living model for all the refugees. We look forward to giving an update on that front soon in one of our upcoming reports. At least for now, we hope that we have been able to share the invaluable work these volunteers do, and the impact of our education kits.
We are grateful for GlobalGiving for connecting us to global supporters like YOU, we would like to thank our big community of supporters, donors, and program volunteers who enabled this partnership for our bridge. Our program is continuing, and we will continue to seek your help in funding new programs, your volunteerism to enable a better life for the Syrian refugee children.
Thank you from the bottom of our hearts!
Bridge to Turkiye Fund.
BTF Syrian Refugee Program Overview
Pre-school Education Kit