Syrian Refugee Children Program Update -February 2018
Bridge to Turkiye Fund (BTF) is one of the few US based non-profit organizations providing funds for the education of refugee children who have fled from Syria’s civil war. BTF invested in the production and distribution of a preschool education kit called “Getting Ready for School”. The original kit was developed by Dr. Selcuk Sirin from New York University in Turkish and BTF translated the kit into Arabic specifically targeting the refugee children educational programs. Since its launch in mid 2017, BTF collaborated with 4 NGOs to distribute these kits and make an impact in the lives of the refugee children.
In this edition, we will share our partnership with YUVA Association. It’s an NGO based in Istanbul and it operates community centers providing services for both Syrian Refugees and Turkish people. They have two main programs, Earth Citizenship Program and Syrian Refugees Program. The main objective of Syrian Refugees Support Program conducted since April 2013 is to empower Syrian community and the local people through non-formal adult education. They developed and implemented a psycho-social support program especially for Syrians’ emotional and cognitive well-being, to improve and strengthen professional skills through vocational training and income generating activities. By including Turkish and Syrian people and participants in their programs, they increase the dialogue, empathy and solidarity between Syrian refugees and the local people.
We developed our bridge with YUVA in the first year of our Syrian Refugee Children program in 2015. That year, we supported/provided 100 youth refugee children in their community centers for 6 months in vocational training & language education.
In the framework of Syrian Refugees Program, YUVA has established Community Centers where they can provide community protection and support activities including case management, awareness raising sessions, social counseling, legal aid, community mobilization; language courses; computer training; skills development courses; vocational training and social activities aiming at belonging to society they live. To support their program, BTF provided 1000 education kits for them to use in their Nizip (400 kits), Kirikhan (300 kits), Konya (100)and Umraniye (200 kits) Community Centers. We’ve received lots of great feedback for our education kits from Tolga Gulec, Manager of Communication, Ebru Acikgoz, Coordinator of Educational Programs and teachers. We are happy to share these feedback with our supporters.
- The educators used the kits with the children ages between 5 -12 who were out of school in Turkey for many social and economic reasons. Even though the education kits are designed for pre-school /kindergarten students, they used the kits with older children whose cognitive and motor fell behind their peers.
- They structured and conducted 45 minutes long lessons by using the education kits and enhanced children’s learning adventures by adding daily themes to the activities. Teachers said it was easier for the children to learn colors, numbers and shapes with the drawings in the books and the designed activities.
- Kids had fun as a group when they worked on the activities such as sorting, matching, memory and coloring skills. It was motivating for the kids who have poor fine motor skills to do crafts such as mask and hat making. Teachers further used those masks and hats in their other activities such as in drama activities.
- Activity books and the story book were easy to read/understand and it attracted the children’s attention from the very beginning.
We know one of the biggest challenges for an NGO in operating in this capacity is the lack of educational resources and tools to use in their activities. Teachers reported that the education kits helped the children to learn most concepts easily and helped themselves to increase attention of children & engagement in learning. To learn more about this program, please read our other stories:
Please read our other stories: