Cooperation in action

Community centres to improve social cohesion

Turkish language course being held in the Öncüpinar refugee camp on the Turkish-Syrian border

The majority of Syrian refugees in Turkey live outside the official camps, mostly in towns and cities in the southeast of the country. Local and international non-governmental organisations have set up more than 20 community centres offering education, childcare and advisory services to the refugees.

For example, the GIZ has been commissioned by the BMZ to work with the German NGO Welthungerhilfe in order to help set up, or extend the services of, nine community centres in eight Turkish provinces. First, the two organisations are seeking to establish which services the refugees need most urgently. Once they have done so, they will widen the range of services on offer, and develop new courses, in accordance with their findings. Particularly important will be courses offering Turkish language lessons, but there will also be courses offering training in crafts and trades.

Moreover, the programme is designed to strengthen peace-building activities and intercultural relations in order to prevent conflicts between refugees and local population. Consequently, the programme offers activities in sports, the arts, theatre and dance, as well as discussion rounds.

In an effort also to reach particularly vulnerable groups, such as women or severely traumatised people, the community centres will carry out information campaigns and home visits designed to educate these groups about their rights and the opportunities available to them.

The people implementing the programme work closely with the Turkish authorities and support partnerships between the community centres and local service providers. Although many of the people who benefit from the programme come from Syria, the programme is also open to refugees from other countries, such as Iraq or Afghanistan.

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