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Credit: Caritas Turkey

Credit: Caritas Turkey

“I never thought that my life would be upside down in such a way,” said one Syrian woman now a refugee in Turkey. “As a family, we were healthy and happy in Syria.”

The 55 year old is a mother of 4 children.

“I keep reflecting continuously on the moments when this hellish situation started in my country,” she said. “I have cancer now. Is it by chance that I am sick at this moment? I’m so concerned about how I can support my children. They’re facing very hard days.”

She is supported by a Caritas programme in Istanbul for her medicine and other basic needs including both food and household items .

Her emotional state has improved since starting sessions with a therapist and now she has begun attending the women’s group activities organised by Caritas in Istanbul.

“I thank everyone for their humanitarian support,” she said. “I’m happy that I met a group of new friends through Caritas. I feel more secure seeing that there are people concerned with our pain.”

“We need more than bread. We need the feeling of solidarity.”

Two of her children take part in educational activities for Syrian refugees in Istanbul. And one of her daughters attends a language course supported by Caritas.

The words the mother repeats each time to her Caritas social worker, Selen, are: “Atek ilafi” (God bless you).

These words make Selen very happy but at the same time she feels uncomfortable.  She tries to explain to her that access to medicine and basic needs like food are her basic human rights. The access to basic human needs, the right to live with dignity should not make people feel indebted to others.

The upheaval in Syria, which shows no signs of ending, is causing irreparable damage to Syrians. At the moment there are around 1.000.000 Syrian refugees in Turkey.

Caritas services respond in Turkey with the distribution of goods through the food and non-food programme, social work and accompaniment, medical support, social activities, supporting education facilities.