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Syrian refugees starting new life in Turkey

Guest post by Tommaso Della Longa, IFRC
 
Sanliurfa is one of the Turkish provinces experiencing a massive influx of refugees from Syria with more than 160,000 people crossing the border last September from Kobane. In Sanliurfa, Arabic is a second language and there are strong cultural and familial bonds for many families.
 
Sara came to Turkey two years ago, fleeing conflict in her hometown. “Many of us saw very bad things happening,” she said. “We are adults but there are many children needing psychological support as they experienced a lot of trauma. They need to be able to express what they feel.”

There is a danger, Sara said, that children growing up in the city would lose their connections with Syria; she sees their Arabic skills becoming less important as people attempt to assimilate. People here face the barrier of language. Sara, like many educated Syrians, speaks French and English but Turkish is less common.
 
Sara was also concerned that many children were not attending schools, and so she began volunteering for different organizations. Volunteering, though, is not without its challenges, not least trying to get the right help to the right people. “For instance, some organizations give clothes but don’t care if they are the right sizes. Or others give us things we do not need.”

Sara arrived in Turkey two years ago after fleeing conflict in her hometown in Syria. 
Photo credit: Turkish Red Crescent

 
Being part of the solution, Sara said, is working closely with the local Syrian community; the people who helped her find somewhere to stay when she arrived. “Rather than receiving donations, it would be better for us to be given opportunities to work so we can have our own dignity.”
 
Canadians wishing to support the enormous humanitarian relief and recovery efforts in Syria and surrounding countries are encouraged to donate to the Syria Crisis Fund
 
Funds raised will go to support emergency efforts by the Red Cross Red Crescent Movement. This will include relief items such as blankets, sleeping mats, food parcels and hygiene items, medical supplies, equipment and emergency personnel. 
 
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