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Doorstep Of The War


Hıven OSMAN, 44-year old, mother of two children.

The story of Hıven and her family begins again together with the civil war experienced in Syria. First, her husband leaves and goes, then they leave alone together with her two children. Then, when she receives the news of death of her husband, the long journey of Hıven to obscurity starts. First, they reach the town of El Azez of Syria, then Gaziantep at the end of the journey taking fourteen hours together with her mother, sister and two children. And they reach Mersin where they will lead the remaining of their life.

The brothers of her husband rent an empty and ruin house first. Thereafter, they have beds on which they will sleep and some pots and pans in which they will cook their meal with the help of some of their neighbors. She keeps her house with thirty five liras by working 14 hours a day going to daily garden works. When garden owners do not give her money, she leaves there quarrelling with them. When they are stuck in a difficult situation as a family, the elder sister of Hıven is required to get married to a man who is 60 years old alleged to be wealthy together with the efforts of persuasion of people around them and they move to their new house.

Having found a job in a factory, Hıven keeps up her home with 700 liras a month. Amid all the hardships she experiences, she loses her mother this time. When there is no one who is to look after her children with passing away of her mother, the mother of the home remains in a position in which she is unable to work. And she is afraid of leaving her children alone in the neighborhood where safety problem is experienced.

The war leaves many hardships and deaths before its doorstep. In the middle of all that hardship, she encounters with the discriminating acts of local people as with thousands of refugees. In the morning of the nights at which she goes to her bed with all the tiredness of the day, she finds garbage heaps near the houseplants broken in front of her door and the edge of these acts performed for her to move away from the neighborhood gets dirty with the dirtiest face of discrimination as the day passes. The weight on her shoulders increases together with the sweats dripping from her forehead when she removes the dead cats thrown in front of her door in the mornings.

They live on the Red Crescent’s aid for a while. She only wants her children to go to school and to eat their fill in a warm house. Hıven’s path crosses with the CfW Project of Yuva Association to which she applies upon hearing it from the siblings of her husband in Mersin.

For Hıven having worked at the Culture Center of the municipality for about six months, working at this work to which she is able to take her children with her energizes her life. Struggling in the middle of the war and immigration with her woman identity, Hıven answers the question “what has changed in your life with the project?” like this: “Before starting to this job, I had seen very bad sides of the people of this country; however, I entered in close relation with local people at the place at which I work this much for the first time. My Turkish friend, who is a project worker at the place at which I work, brought vacuum cleaner and items from her house to me. I obtained some clothing for me and my kids from the Charity Bazaar in the Culture Center. Everybody in the center helped me; officials bought a refrigerator for my home. I made social circle here and made many friends. Above all, I am able to keep up my home and look after my children with the money I earn. Thanks to my own earning, I stand on my own legs and do not need anybody. Thanks to the project, I made an honorable life reaching a social life and standing on my own legs and being able to take care of my children and leading an honorable life are very good. I feel myself strong.”

Just to spite the deaths left by the war in front of the door, strengthening women, strengthening people plant the life into soils in flowerpots.

Written by:
Gülsüm Güngör | Social Worker
CFW – Mersin

Salma’s Home

“Yuva Association CfW Project Toroslar Municipality June-December 2017- Salma KESİMİ”

Salma is one of thousands of people having hit the pavement from amid the war and come to the soils of this country as refugee. Another important identity she bears is the fact that she is a woman and mother. Now, she lives together with her two children and her mother-in-law who is seventy years old in Mersin to where she had come. Her husband is still in Syria due to problems he experienced in crossing the border gate, hardships during official registration and economic bottleneck.

32-year old Salma is within the first beneficiary group starting in Toroslar Municipality pillar of the CfW Project. Salma has been working as sanitation worker in the Municipality for about six months. The fact that women had not been included in the working life in any way depending on cultural life of Syria poses an impediment before Syrian women having come to Turkey. At the start of the project, we have faced this impediment all together. Same timidity is revealed also in Salma being one of these women. In spite of many question marks in her mind, Salma chooses working instead of giving up. During this short period of time we have spent together, all our women beneficiaries utter all of us the happiness they feel from their works and work life together with their appreciation wishes. Now, they are the people keeping up their families by working, feeling themselves valuable and standing on their own legs.

In the middle of all these experienced, a striking story, a focal point, maybe a detail that may be overlooked catches our eyes. The work she started at Home Textile Decoration Workshop in one of the vocational training centers is the first work experience Salma ever have had during her entire life. In her spare times, she imprints a drawing onto embroidery as her first experience. In this first work of hers, she shows us her first hand labor, her first work, extending it: a house!

At the point where words leave themselves toward feelings inside the human at some point, that warm home of the past and memories of Salma in her hands, the home she fits in the walls, where she took shelter in this geography, her home in the middle of her memories refreshed in her mind during her life simply stands there. Before being able to ask where Salma’s home is, Salma’s home in her palms looks at us.

Özgür YILMAZ | Social Worker
CfW – Mersin

Lot of Similarities Between Us


Now that we are all together in the class with Syrians, I realize there is quite a lot of similarities between us, such as humour.

I’m originally from Nizip but I grew up in Netherlands. Lived there for 35 years and came back 10 years ago. Now that we take these courses together with Syrians we got used to each other. We laugh at the same things. Before this we used to just pass by each other and when we came across we were like “oh there they are again…” But now I realize there is quite a lot of similarities between us, such as humour. We laugh at the same things with them. Women are the same all over the world when the subject is something like knitting or sewing. Also at first I didnt want to come here by myself so I hesitated a lot. Now that it is almost my second home, i also realize it wasnt necessary to be afraid. I have learned a lot of things i didnt know here. How to patch, how to make ribbons and other tricks that I never knew. Classes are also both in Arabic and Turkish. We speak Turkish but some words are similar in both languages so sometimes I feel like I understand what they say.

Emine Balkan, Nizip Community Center

You Can Discover New Things


You can discover new things within yourself everyday. And this place has done exactly that for me.

My name is Judi Necar. I’m from Aleppo. I’ve been in Turkey for four years. I was living in Gaziantep first but then we moved here to Nizip. We were one of the first to arrive. Our family used to live on the north part of Aleppo. That’s where the war first spread. We tried to live in many places before coming here. At first we moved to the south of Aleppo. But on the 20th day our house was hit by mortar fire. Finally we decided to move to Turkey. Unfortunately I still live in a camp here. It takes me 45 minutes to come to the community center. Actually I first go to work and then come here. I work in a municipality school where I teach Syrian children Turkish. And later I come here to study for TOEFL and learn how to paint. I had many dreams back at the time. I wanted to go to the university. I applied last year but was not successful. I will try again this year. I hope I will make it this time. My interests expanded since I started coming here. And I have also met very nice people. The more you meet new people the more you learn. For instance for me it was only computer classes at first but then I attended TOEFL and now I’m also learning to paint. I didn’t know much about it when I first started but I’m learning bit by bit. That is to say, you can discover new things within yourself everyday. And this place has done exactly that for me.

Judi Necar, Nizip Community Center