Khadeja is looking for a better and easier life in Turkey and to secure her future. She hopes the latter will take place in Syria.
“Life here is difficult,” 30-year-old Khadeja admits while letting the hair of a hair doll slip through her fingers. She fled from Aleppo in Syria to safety in Istanbul, Turkey, where she now attends the activities provided at a Community Center run by the Turkish Red Crescent Society and supported by EU.
Besides vocational training such as the hair dressing course and Turkish classes, which Khadeja is attending, the center is also helping with medical referrals, providing psychosocial support and more to help especially Syrian refugees integrate and become more self-reliant. “Before I just stayed at home,” Khadeja says.
“I want to support my family”
Without knowing the Turkish language, many Syrians find it difficult to integrate into the surrounding society and interact with Turks – even to buy groceries at the local market. And without a job, it can be difficult to afford living costs, Khadeja points out. “The rent is expensive, and it is expensive to live. All of us have difficulties paying the rent,” she says regarding the other Syrian hairdressing students in the room. All of them are female and highly concentrated, while the teacher walks around reviewing each’s work and giving advice.
“I am here to be trained as a hair dresser, so I can get a job afterwards. I want to work so I can support my family. It is better than just staying at home doing nothing. I am also learning Turkish,” Khadeja says. She lives with her brother and his wife and children. Having a job will not only make her more self-reliant in her current situation, but could also ensure her a better future, Khadeja hopes: “I would like to go back to Syria and be able to work as a hair dresser there.”
About the community centers in Turkey
In Cooperation with the Turkish Red Crescent the German Red Cross is helping Syrian refugees in Turkey. In a total of three community centers, the Red Cross supports the refugees with services such as language and craft courses or computer training. The refugees also receive psychosocial support. The community centers are financed with the help of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
Photos: John Engedal Nissen/ DRC