The UNHRC estimates that there are currently over 25.9 million refugees worldwide. Over half of them are under the age of 18. Every 2 seconds, one person around the world is forced to leave their homes and seek safety.
These statistics are heart-breaking and can often leave us feeling overwhelmed and helpless. At SKT Welfare, we have been supporting refugee communities around the world, including in Turkey and Bangladesh.
This World Refugee Week, we embrace the theme of ‘Imagine’ and invite you to not only imagine a better world, but help to create one. Refugees face unimaginable horrors in their lives. In war, families are torn apart, homes destroyed, children made orphans, villages left devastated, economies ruined and futures remain bleak.
For those who flee and seek refuge in other countries, life is difficult. Despite being away from the harms that war causes, starting a new life in a new country is incredibly challenging. In most cases, people have to learn a new language, understand new systems and currency, face major challenges in finding employment, and also face stigma and bullying.
One of our largest areas of work with refugees is in Turkey where we support Syrian refugee families and orphans, fundamentally helping them create safe and bright futures away from the perils and devastation of war.
We provide aid to families living in refugee camps and temporary accommodation, especially throughout the cold, harsh winter months. We provide food and shelter, as well as supporting them in accessing quality healthcare, education and employment opportunities.
Despite the devastation of war, the loss of human life, suffering and pain, there is always hope. At SKT Welfare, we take that hope and we turn it into positive, real and long-lasting change. At our Springs of Hope Family Centre in Reyhanli, we provide hundreds of Syrian orphans with a loving, warm, safe and secure home. Some orphans are also living with their mothers and siblings, as we continue to work to keep families together.
The children we care for at Springs of Hope are extraordinary. They deserve a childhood full of laughter, fun and games, just like every other child around the world. They have had to face horrors no child should ever see, and sometimes carry the burden of caring for their siblings and families. At Springs of Hope, we know that children have carried years of trauma before we meet them, and so that is why we focus on psych-social support for them and their widowed mothers, creating safe spaces and open forums. The war in Syria has meant that for years, children have been unable to go to school and get the education that will help them in later life. We ensure children attend the best schools in the city and work with them outside of class, so they are able to make up for lost time. While children may come in performing lower than their classmates, by the end of the school year, they are excelling and often soaring above their classmates.
This Refugee Week, we want you to imagine what it is like. Imagine having your world turned upside down, your home destroyed, your family torn apart, losing loved ones, being unable to go to school and see your friends. Imagine finally being able to escape with your family but arriving into a place where you can’t understand the language; you don’t have anywhere to sleep, and you’re constantly worried that someone will hurt you. But now imagine there’s someone that wants to help you.
Be that someone.