Rise Now for the Syrian Refugee Children

by Bridge to Turkiye Fund
Rise Now for the Syrian Refugee Children
Rise Now for the Syrian Refugee Children
Rise Now for the Syrian Refugee Children
Rise Now for the Syrian Refugee Children
Rise Now for the Syrian Refugee Children
Rise Now for the Syrian Refugee Children
Rise Now for the Syrian Refugee Children
Rise Now for the Syrian Refugee Children
Rise Now for the Syrian Refugee Children
Rise Now for the Syrian Refugee Children
Rise Now for the Syrian Refugee Children
Rise Now for the Syrian Refugee Children
Rise Now for the Syrian Refugee Children
Rise Now for the Syrian Refugee Children
Rise Now for the Syrian Refugee Children
Rise Now for the Syrian Refugee Children

August, 2016

Greetings from BTF...We are continuing to invest in the development and education of refugee children in Turkey. It is the mission we took on board in the aftermath of the tragic death of the 3 year old Syrian boy Aylan Kurdi whose image made global headlines after he drowned in Turkey. Since that time, we have developed and delivered 5 projects with our local partners focused on improving education & social integration opportunities for refugee children, and their families. Thanks to our volunteers, and our global donors who have risen strongly for our causes.

Lack of education is still the number 1 & urgent priority for refugee children in Turkey. There are approximately 3 million refugees living in Turkey, and majority of the school age children have been out of school for more than 4 yrs. During May & June we worked to expand our reach, and took on a new project with special focus for the preschool children ages between 3-6 who are deprived from a nurturing and fun learning environment. We are excited to share with you that we will be impacting the lives of the little children, and coloring their imagination and fulfill learning desire with a set of activity books that will help them prepare for elementary school. 

Our new education project will reach Syrian refugee pre-school children living outside of the refugee camps in Urfa, Turkey. Urfa is the #1 and most populated city hosting close to half a million (500,000) refugees in Turkey. About 20% of these refugees live in the refugee camps in Urfa, and the rest of the population is distributed throughout the city. (Source: Turkish Interior Ministry,The Disaster and Emergency Management Authority - AFAD). “Getting ready for School” is a pre-school education kit composed of 4 activity based learning books, 1 puzzle, and 1 book– all age appropriate education materials preparing little minds to the elementary school. The original book set is in Turkish, and is translated in Arabic language as we speak. These sets will be delivered to eligible families in a few months. We are planning to deliver this set to 3,000 children initially. 

The preschool education kit aims to develop 4 basic skills for the pre-school children. Visual skills, Hearing skills, Problem Solving and Motor Skills. The kit is set-up such that children will be able to complete individual activity sections anywhere at their pace, acquire keys at the end of sections, and solve the kit puzzle at the end, and the book will serve as a reward to finish the learning journey. What we like about this set is that it is a milestone driven, activity based learning, and will encourage child-parent interaction during the learning process.

In the past month, we have solidified our execution plan, arranged all publication process working with vendors, and we will leverage a local non-profit partner in Urfa to deliver these education kits to identified and eligible children/families.

Pre-school Education Kit Content (Scroll down to see the kit Picture below):

  1. Gördüklerim/I am seeing: Aimed at improving observational and perception skills
  2. Duyduklarm/I am hearing: Aimed at improving hearing, listening skills
  3. Yaptklarm/I am drawing and writing: Aimed at improving hand- fine motor skills, and muscle development
  4. Çözdüklerim/I am solving: Aimed at improving problem solving, solution finding skills.
  5. Story Book.
  6. Puzzle

In the next report, we look forward to giving you an update about the delivery of these kits to children, and share back their happiness. As always, we are grateful for the support you have given us throughout the year to support our programs.  We thank our partner Global Giving for additional funds & providing us the global support base.

Together, we are delivering hope and happiness for the refugees.

*We have plans to take this project to many more children in the future, and based on the impact and interest it generates in Urfa refugee community, we may expand our program to other cities where refugee children & families are highly concentrated (mainly Istanbul) in the Winter period.

Thank you!

Bridge to Turkiye Fund Family & Volunteers.

August 2016.

BTF Pre-school edu-kit (Turkish version) picture
BTF Pre-school edu-kit (Turkish version) picture
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Since our last update after completing 2 of our 5 projects, we executed all the remaining 3 projects we planned to deliver. Lots of collaborative effort went into these new projects as we built & created the scope, decided on program participants, created weekly schedules, and recruited professional educator staff with our partner organizations in Turkey. These projects were unique and new, and they were all built around the needs of the refugee children to enable them to grow and learn and provide enrichment in their lives.

We are grateful for the support we received from our donors and GlobalGiving platform that enabled the financial means of providing this support to the Syrian refugee children, and their Moms. We received great feedback from the beneficiaries, both children & participant moms showed their happiness, appreciation of such social and educational support. We strongly believe that we achieved our objectives and brought order, solidarity and normalcy in their lives.

We hope that you will be able to see their happiness via our visuals, and the stories we share about them in the links, and we look forward to continuing our support during the second half of 2016, and beyond in 2017.. 

Project # 3: Sponsor A Child’s Education & Social Enrichment (Arts4Kids, Turkish4Kids): We sponsored & supported 100 children in Kirikhan town near the border in one of the community centers.

Funding for this program provided Turkish language classes for 100 kids in a well-established Community Center in the border town of Kirikhan. Language is the most sought after skill in a new environment. It is a critical skill to adjust to a new life, and speaking the language enable kids to catch-up on reading & writing and grade level education. In addition to acquiring language skills, the children has received drama lessons, drawing, photography workshops and took computer lessons. All posted pictures in this report (displayed down) are from Kirikhan Community Center, and shows children activities.

 Project #4: Empower the Mothers & Children(Arts4Kids, Music4Kids)Started in March 2016, sponsored & supported100 Moms (along with their children).

Refugee moms, especially single moms, face the pressure to find work immediately. Acquiring basic Turkish speaking skills are critical for finding a job for self reliance, be knowledgable about the social services they can benefit from and ultimately start supporting their families. As the Moms were receiving language courses, the program held hip-hop dance and rap workshops for their children in the same facility. This field of dance art is very open to self-expression of the children, and therefore we aimed to improve their confidence and social expression skills. Please visit our story link to see the children in action:Helping Refugee Children Hip Hop out of this Crisis!

Project # 5: Knitting Shop: Investing in Syrian refugee women to help themselves and self-support education for their children.

According to UNHCR, 75 percent of the Syrian refugee population is women and children. In Turkey, 22 % of Syrian heads of household outside of camps are women. They are mostly single women who lost their spouses.

BTF has funded a "knitting shop" program for refugee moms. 20 refugee moms were supported though this life changing cooperative-social initiative, they came together and knitted winter essential goods such as winter hats and scarfs that created self-support for their own children. Visit our story link to hear about the personal stories of some of these women: Syrian Refugee Women Knitting for a Better Future 

 Key benefits delivered in this project:

  1. Syrian Women worked as a team, collaborating and communicating more tightly, benefiting from the natural therapy that knitting gives.
  1. These women knitted winter essentials to support their own children for education (covering school expenses), and in parallel gained self confidence via this small business opportunity.
  1. BTF had distributed these knitted goods under existing 4Kids programs to the needy children in schools in the eastern part of Turkey.

 Pictures from Project # 3- Children at Kirikhan Community Center in Kirikhan (courtesy of YUVA ).


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Gift of Schoolbags with Education Kits
Gift of Schoolbags with Education Kits

Not much has changed since we've started our "Rise Now for Syrian Refugee Children" program in last December... Fearing for their future, hundreds of Syrian families continue to leave their country; and Turkey continues to be the largest Syrian refugee-hosting country… Refugees, while still unsure about their tomorrow, are still barely receiving the care that they need in this freezing cold winter…

During the last couple of months one thing has changed though: all of our projects that aim to help and improve the lives of Syrian refugee women and children have been kicked off! With your support, Bridge to Turkiye Fund has raised close to $20K! For the last couple of months we’ve been busy translating these funds into various educational and social opportunities for the Syrian refugee women and children.

Since our program has been kicked off, with your generous contributions,we were able to complete two of our projects:

  1. We distributed 1000 schoolbags to children (ages 5-18) in partnership with our local NGOs in Istanbul, and in other border towns;
  2. We also delivered 1500 Arabic books, and 1500 Turkish books to the targeted Syrian schools in Istanbul

Additionally, as we are building the foundations of our third project which will focus on supporting the Syrian Refugee children’s education and social enrichment; we are also planning for a knitting shop for Syrian women… With this program we are planning to invest in Syrian refugee women to help themselves and self-support education for their children. You will hear more about these projects on our next letter!

Moreover, today, we are kicking off our “Mother&Child” project, which aims to empower the Syrian refugee mothers and their children under one roof. As part of this project, we are partnering with Social and Cultural Life Association, our local NGO partner. Our highly qualified Turkish language teachers will teach Turkish language to 100 Syrian refugee mothers. So every day for 2 hours these 100 mothers will be learning Turkish while their children are taking dance and art classes at the same location. Imagine the security and the belonging this will provide to these families, who have lost everything! Imagine the happiness of a mother who will see her child attending to an age appropriate activity with their friends! Imagine the happiness of a child who will dance, draw and laugh freely for 2 hours every day without the fear of tomorrow! We hope that with your contributions our “Mother&Child” program will offer this sense of normality and hope for future to these families.

As the Syrian conflict enters its fifth year, we all need to remember children affected by the Syrian conflict are at risk of becoming ill, malnourished, abused, or exploited. With your support we will continue to work with our local NGO partners and offer programs to Syrian refugee children that will provide them a safe environment and a chance to play and go to school. Your contributions will help us to offer programs to the women who will need employment options in case of long-term displacement.

The need for help is urgent; and we depend on friends like you to make sure our programs can continue without interruption. Thank you so much for your continuous support and giving another chance to the Syrian refugee children to be kids again!

Syrian Refugee Children with Their New SchoolBags
Syrian Refugee Children with Their New SchoolBags
Building Libraries
Building Libraries
Syrian Kids in Istanbul
Syrian Kids in Istanbul


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Organization Information

Bridge to Turkiye Fund

Location: Cary, NC - USA
Project Leader:
Hande Uzun
Cary , NC United States

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