Caritas Turkey: side by side with Syrian refugees


A Caritas Turkey social worker updates the prescription of a Syrian refugee so they have access to medicines.
Credit: Caritas Turkey

By Caritas Turkey

There are tens of thousands Syrian refugee families living outside the tent camps along the Syria-Turkey border. This is a number increasing very fast day by day. About an hour far from Istanbul, some Syrian refugee families live in poor and crowded housing conditions.

Ali, a 13 year old young boy, is worried for his father, who developed serious hypertension and heart problems recently, following the stress he has to endure every day. He, together with his family and children, had to flee in a rush from a conflict in Syria, facing a dangerous, long journey to cross the border into Turkey.

Now, they do not know for how long they will have to stay in Turkey without sufficient resources, jobs, education, health services, and without being allowed to apply for asylum or being given an official status. They are worried about the rent, the future of their children, the food and even more they are worried about what is happening to the people they left behind. They are worried about not being able to see their houses, their country again.

Ali and his family share the house with three other families. In total they are 14 people. Ali repeats the words of the social worker of Caritas, “Please daddy pay attention not to forget to take your pills every day.”

The Caritas Turkey team visits districts in Istanbul where Syrian refugees are staying to provide medical support, food coupons and blankets. Social workers follow the needs of individuals who have specific vulnerabilities with attention, contacting hospitals providing translators, writing to official state institutions for them. House visits are organised not only to deliver the relief items but also to be close to people to listen to them while having tea together.

An Iraqi refugee himself, translator of the team, Aassim, says, “Caritas visits to the houses are very important to be side by side with them. In these difficult days, as humans we need to act in solidarity, we need to care for the problems of the refugees.”

Caritas Turkey recently also provided hygiene items, pyjamas and medical supplies for Syrian refugees in Kilis, Gaziantep. An appeal was made by Caritas Turkey recently to support refugees in Kilis and Reyhanlı where Syrian refugees are living.

Caritas Internationalis

President: Cardinal Luis Antonio Gokim Tagle
Secretary General: Michel Roy

Caritas Internationalis
Palazzo San Calisto
Vatican City State

Reception Desk: + 39 06 698 797 99
Fax: + 39 06 698 872 37

The office is open from Monday to Friday from 8.30 am to 5.00 pm.

If you need to contact a staff member outside of office hours in a humanitarian emergency, please call + 39 334 359 0700 or email