Visit to Sanliurfa Refugee Camp
We arrived together with Bro Bahodur Umaror- Turkey Branch Manager of Muslim Aid Australia to Sanliurfa on 26 January 2017, around 9 a.m. Mr.Abdullah Toprak – the head of Sanliurfa office of Hayrat foundation picked us from the airport to Viransehir refugee camp, which is aprox. 150 km from the airport.
General statistics about the refugees in Sanliurfa
More than 3 mln Syrian refugees are currently living in Turkey, being about 280.000 of them located in 25 refugees camps and the rest, i.e. about 90% living outside the camps.
Sanliurfa (or simply Urfa) is the city in the east part of Turkey bordering with Syria. More than half million of Syrian refugees are living in Urfa, which is the highest number among all cities in Turkey. There are 5 camps in Urfa, hosting a total of 115 thousands of refugees.
Visit to Viransehir Refugee Camp
Our team arrived to Viransehir refugee camp around 12 a.m. The camp hosts about 15,500 refugees in about 4,000 tents. The director of the camp accepted us in his office and kindly shared with us general information about the camp.
The camp is divided into 6 quarters and each of them has its own leader, masjid and sanitation centers. Each family is given a small tent to live.
There is a small medical center in the camp which serves 300-400 refugees per day. Everyday a bus delivers average of 60-7- patients for treatment to the hospitals in city center.
The administration of the camp tries to cover all children in the camp with education opportunities. The school in the camp consists of 68 classrooms and about 5,000 students are receiving education here in pre-school, primary and secondary levels.
Each family in the camp is given an electronic card to which administration loads 100 TRY/month per each family member. They can use these cards for doing shopping in camp’s markets.
After meeting with director of the camp our team went to one of the quarters in the camp to visit refugee families and to deliver food packs to some of them. In total we visited about 15 families. Most of them were originally from Aleppo, being the rest from Homs, Idlib and Dar ez Zeyr. The families that we visited were in more vulnerable position due to having either children with disabilities, orphans or elderlies. Some of them came to the camp recently and some 2-3 years ago.
Visit to Muhajir School for Syrian Refugees
Our delegation visited the school in the morning, 27th of January. The Muhajir School for boys among Syrian refugees was opened by initiative of Hayrat foundation in September 2016 in Eyubiye district of Sanliurfa and is supported by Turkish Ministry of education and Muslim Aid Australia.
The building of school consists of 5 floors, 2 of which are currently completed and used for educational needs. Currently 70 Syrian students are registered in it. The curriculum of school is approved by the Ministry of education and students will receive recognised diploma of graduation by the end of study program. Along with academic and religious subjects the school offers intensive courses of Turkish language. The total capacity of school after overall completion of the construction is 300 students. In remaining parts of building Hayrat is looking for additional funding to build computer classroom, meeting hall, kitchen, guestrooms and some indoor sport activities.
Education is one of the main areas of humanitarian aid to be to be considered for providing better opportunities for the next generations. There is a big risk that a whole generation among Syrian refugees will remain illiterate as a result of civil war lasting for more than 6 years.
Distributions outside the camps
The same day we went to several locations in remote areas from the city center. Here we visited refugees who were not able to find place in governmental refugee camps and who are not able to rent a flat in the city. They constructed very elementary tents for themselves in the fields. About 600 families are living in these conditions in this area. Most of them refuged to Turkey in last 3-4 months. Those who are living in these locations are in more vulnerable situations as they don’t receive any official support. Here we were able to distribute about 50 food packs and diapers.