Hadra & her friends in Imece Village…
Our latest field report from Syrian Refugee Children Program
It will be really hard to give a significant project update without revoking your emotions and humanity in this post. As we prepared for showing our progress on our Syrian refugee program, we will take time to go deep and recognize many of the hero’s we met last year serving underprivileged children & families who have been the victims of war.
In this report, we will highlight one of our field partners called “Imece Initiative” located in Izmir Turkey. Imece is founded in 2014 by students, and has supported local Turkish people in need of basic necessities serving as a relief collective. With the significant refugee migration taking in the Aegean sea in 2015, it shifted its efforts to help refugees, and became a registered NGO in 2016. If you would recall from media and news, in a period of 6 months, Oct 15 to March 16, about 80,000 refugees went through boats from Cesme Izmir to the Greek island Chios in the hopes of finding a better land to live.
Many of these people died, were caught by Turkish Jandarma (armed forces) and were rescued from capsized boats. Imece organization provided aid for many of these people, families, children, women daily as they were 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 refugees ended up settling in the land around Cesme area. This should give you a context about the environment and the role Imece has been serving from distribution of food, to hygiene products in the last 2 years. Below you will see their operation locations, and where these families are spread throughout the region.
We met with Imece last year in summer 2016 as they sought investment and partnership for their “Education Village” long-term project. They are creating (as we speak) a village where children from the areas are brought in, and given educational classes, while families pick-up skills and find sustainable means of supporting their lifes. To enable this vision, we invested $10,000 to finance 3 class size container classes in the Fall 2016. While the long-term project is shaping up, and being built, Imece has a mobile education offering currently. They go to the refugee settlement areas during the week, gather children, and offer educational and play activities. We recently distributed our pre-school education kits into this mobile program.
How did the children find these education kits?
Since June, 7th 2017, Imece distributed and used 250 kits in the tent camps through mobile education they provide in 5 unofficial camps in the Aegean region of Turkey, They build an open air classroom in each of those camps once a week and practice latin alphabet and Turkish language with the older children. The younger children have time to draw and the volunteers coach and play educational games with them. The Pre-education kits have enhanced the quality education and provided great enrichment for children of all ages. We found out through the feedback from our partners -including Imece- that 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 for longer periods and focusing on an education topic or collaborating with peers for half an hour. Further, when Imece started the Mobile Education Project in December 2016, they learned quickly that the contents we reckon suitable for the western world, without war or any other crisis children have to go through, needs to be adjusted down for the children who have been though the war, and lacking prior education. 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 books included in the set, the younger children used the crayons to draw pictures or enjoyed coloring. The content of the kits & elements of the set are found to be very well chosen and blended perfectly into Imece’s program with in the last 8 months.
Meet Hadra, beautiful & 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 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 worried about every family member that is still there. She misses school very much. When she is older, Hadra wants to become a doctor because this way she will be able to help sick and injured people of whom she has seen too many in her young life. She is grateful for the education we provide with your kind help !
As we stated in the beginning, we would dedicate this story & post to the real heros serving on the ground, Imece leaders, global volunteers who have been relentlessly helping the refugees, putting a smile in children, supporting women going though the hardship which we can’t imagine, & showing real humanity in action. Their work is beyond imaginable.
We 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 hope that we have been able to share the invaluable work they do and deliver each day, a view though our bridge touching the lives of many refugee children. We are tremendously grateful for our community of supporters, donors, and program volunteers like you who enabled this education kit (total investment was $35,000), and other education programs in the last 2 years. Look froward to sharing more updates and Imecefront news with you in the future…
Bridge to Turkiye Fund