WHO WE ARE?
Since 2014, our team is made up of mostly university students who have volunteered in various social responsibility projects and made the integration and education of Syrian children their mission. Based on the premise of volunteering, over a span of three years, our team has touched the lives of numerous refugee children. As a result of our team and the experiences gained, we established the Hiraeth Association in 2017 to better systemize our work and provide more sustainable benefits.
Working on the integration and education of refugee children, our association focuses on the issue of Syrian refugees, which has become a social crisis in this country over these past few years.
The migration caused by the ongoing Syrian civil war has forced millions of people to forcible leave the land they called home, since 2011. This has led many Syrians to choose a variety of different countries, the first of which is Turkey, to seek asylum in, in order to continue to live the rest of their lives without the threat of being killed. The number of Syrian refugees welcomed by Turkey since 2012 up until 2017 is estimated by government agencies three million, most of which are women and children. These include people who live in the city and camps, those who live in Turkey’s east and west, those born in and those who have come of age in Turkey, etc. As a result of this demographic distribution, different refugees have different problems. Specifically, there is a growing generation struggling with the danger of disappearing and being away from their homeland.
An inevitable consequence of the stated reasons is that if these children are not supported in a safe environment, there is a high probability that they will face danger in the future and have a higher tendency for violence. For most refugee families who face financial troubles, education remains a second priority and male children over the age of 10 are expected to work and contribute to their household income with their salaries. On the other hand, lack of understanding by some Turkish citizens of abstract concepts such as refugee, war, crisis and hospitality, mutual understanding and integration is further made difficult and often leads to these guests being perceived as threats. Allowing children to continue their lives under such gaze hinders their ability to plan for the future and feel like they belong to the society.
In line with all of these elements, we have made it our mission to touch these children and strive to overcome the difficulties they face and might face in the future, through projects aiming to educate and integrate Syrian children into society.
Syrian families and children living in a shantytown neighborhood where we have been involved in for the last two years, were the main motivation for the establishment of our team and our Association. The neighborhood allowed us to see the fundamental difficulties and necessities of refugees who have also struggled with similar life struggles in other parts of the city. Focusing on our target region in such a way has allowed us to carry out our projects in a more sustainable way, and, with the intimate bound created, made our work special.
Ahmet Faruk Yapar
Ubeydullah Bilal Sarıyaşar
Çağla Nur Ünal
Muhammed Enes Avar
Hatice Hüma Çağlar
Ayşe Perihan Kırkıç
Muhammet Ali Üstün
Muhammed Yasir Bodur
More than 100 volunteers and sponsors make up our network, among which are the Istanbul Metropolitan Municipality, Eyup Municipality, Istanbul Bilgi University, Istanbul Sehir University, Istanbul Commerce University and LC Waikiki.