More than 1,300 Syrian refugees and members of the Turkish host community have received the support needed to establish a source of income to provide a better life for their children. With the help of private funds from the Visser family and support from the Turkish Red Crescent (TRC), World Vision has successfully implemented the Socio-economic Empowerment project “Seeds of Hope” in Turkey, starting from June 2021 and up until March 2022. Almost 150 people had the chance to attend vocational courses designed to assisting them to achieve financial independence. This eventually enabled them to enrol their children back in school after years of dropping out. Beneficiaries who attended the courses also received transportation allowance to help them complete the training more efficiently. The project also supported 53 participants economically by providing them with the assets and equipment needed to start their desired business apart from vocational training. As an integrated approach, children have also been assisted with psychological support sessions and directed attention as seen needed.
Sumaya* is one example that showcased the success of the project. She sought refuge in Turkey because of the Syrian war, hoping to build a better life for her children. Upon arriving, her husband’s health got worse, and he could not work anymore. To escape poverty, Sumaya started looking for solutions to make an income for the family. She later learned about the vocational training courses implemented by TRC and the skills participants gained which opened doors of employment chances and opportunities.
“With my husband sick and unable to work, I heard about the Socio-economic programme and learned how to make desserts and pickles professionally!” Sumaya happily shares. To help Sumaya achieve her plan in making desserts professionally, TRC also provided the necessary machinery and equipment she needs for desserts making. In addition, the same support was offered to all the 53 participants who completed training and were found eligible upon household visits.
“This project provided me with financial support and taught me how to make professional desserts and pickles”, recalls Sumaya.
In Suruç, Turkey, almost 20 people have attended a training on how to raise and take care of bovines (domestic cattle and buffalos) and ovine (sheep). The main focus of this training is to help participants gain the necessary skills to pursue bovine and ovine breeding as a profession in the future and even start their small businesses as farmers.
Pinar is one of the 150 Syrian refugees and Turkish host community members to attend the vocational training courses. The courses intended to enrich participants’ skills which ultimately enhanced their confidence in finding the source of income for their families.
Pinar shares: “I registered in the hygienic food drying course. After finishing the course, I have gained self-confidence since I started working and my physical and psychological health recovered and improved,” she happily tells. The long refugee journey from Syria to Turkey, took a toll on her mental health and affected her. The training offered her a space where she can feel accomplished and confident. It helped her adapt to the new environment and work on the emotions she buried for so long. As an extra step to overcome challenges, she enrolled in the psychological support sessions setting a great example for her children on the importance of psychological health “the sessions helped me teach my children how to handle any obstacles they might face and have a positive outlook on life,” adds Pinar.
[When the training ended], I became more confident in myself and my abilities to provide for my children, and I too can make an income. The training has helped me improve my mental health, be more optimistic about my future and improve my physical health. This helped me set an example to my children of how to overcome any obstacles they might face and have a positive outlook on life”, Pinar says.
45-year-old Nur always hoped to see her daughter pack their backpacks and get ready for school. But after seeking refuge in Turkey and fleeing from Syria in 2013, she was faced with severe financial problems. Their home was robbed, and they were left with little money to count on. With her husband falling sick and little resources available, she had to find a solution to help her daughters. She learned about the Socio-economic Empowerment project, where she attended a vocational training course focused on bovine and ovine breeding. Nur was one of 20 beneficiaries who eventually received financial support making her dream of enrolling her children in school come true!
After finally settling in Turkey and finding a job, 35-years-old Lubna was displaced due to COVID-19 employee downsizing. "I was upset at first because it was my main source of income," Lubna says. But then she learned about the harvesting courses implemented by the TRC in Şanlıurfa and soon enrolled in the Socio-economic project – taking on the agricultural training. Lubna now has the skills needed to find a stable source of income.
Working together to build a better future for children
The Socio-economic Empowerment project has had remarkable results due to the professionals who have provided the highest services to all beneficiaries. Seda is one of the social workers working for TRC. She is already known for the assistance she has offered to Syrian refugees and vulnerable members of the Turkish host community. Seda would conduct field visits and carry out risk assessments to make sure that the project’s activities fit the highest standards to beneficiaries.
Seda shares after reflecting upon the project: “we embarked on this beautiful journey that ended with the preparation of the field, home visits, training and support. At the end of this journey, knowing that we improved children’s lives and witnessing the happiness in their eyes is one of the most beautiful experiences,”
“We embarked on this beautiful journey that ended with the preparation of the field, home visits, training and support. At the end of this journey, knowing that we improved children’s lives and witnessing the happiness in their eyes is one of the most beautiful experiences,”
Mehmet is the project manager of the Socio-economic Empowerment programme. He is a true support system to everyone involved in the programme and they can rely on him. His management ensured the successful coordination of the project’s activities and initiatives and the staggering results that improved people's chances for a better living. He shares: “My biggest motivation is knowing that families can access opportunities they would not have been able to access due to economic poverty. Our goal is to support domestic production and to also provide support to people who are seeking it,” Mehmet mentions.
More than 50 participants received transportation allowance to mitigate their process of attending the courses. Thus, the participants did not need to worry about the financial proceeding of regularly attending the training.
Yusuf is one of the World Vision staff responsible for ensuring the highest standards among all projects run by World Vision in Turkey. Acting as the portfolio manager, he has also ensured that the Socio-economic Empowerment project complies with internal and donor quality standards. He shares: “World Vision partners with TRC in Sanliurfa Governorship aiming to enhance the resilience and socio-economic integration of vulnerable families from both refugees and host communities' backgrounds. Our work focuses on child labour, common among families facing financial difficulties. The project focused on addressing the socio-economic needs of 300 profiled individuals while protecting children through a multi-sectoral approach. As a result, the participating refugees and host communities acquired essential skills which will be useful when starting their own business, thus supporting their families and enrolling their children back in schools in the future,”
Going the extra mile for project success
As an integrated approach, the Socio-economic programme also included psychological support sessions for adults and children. The sessions were well-received and the high turn-out resulted in 300 beneficiaries attending. The sessions helped them learn how to manage negative emotions through healthy coping mechanisms while also caring for their psychological well-being. Psychological sessions have been also provided to 715 children - 370 boys and 345 girls - who are now more aware of their feelings, know how to deal with negative emotions, and raise awareness against bullying in their community.
About the Socio-economic Empowerment project
The Socio-economic Empowerment programme aims to support Syrian refugees and members of the Turkish host community by providing multiple services. For example, the project aims to support beneficiaries in acquiring the skills needed for finding a source of income. For this purpose, specific vocational and professional training are offered, like animal husbandry [a form of agriculture concerned with raising animals], sewing, baking or making foods products. Also, all of the beneficiaries received training on how to use the skills they learned to generate income from the labour market.