TIAFI (Team International Assistance for Integration or Uluslararası Yardımlaşma ve Entegrasyon Derneği in Turkish) is a non-profit grassroot organisation in Izmir. In 2017, TIAFI opened a large community center in the multicultural and underprivileged Tepecik neighbourhood. With this center, we – a group of Turkish, Syrian and other international people – aim to increase the empowerment, self-sufficiency and integration of vulnerable Syrian and Turkish families in Izmir.
Our centre is an inclusive and supportive safe-haven that is open every week day. We provide a range of services: individual support at our drop-in ‘TIAFI Info Point’ support desk, a charity shop, an open kitchen with free warm lunches for the local community and creative, educational and skill-development activities for women and children.
Whereas we work mainly to address the individual needs of Syrian refugees, we extend our services to the wider local community where needed as we hope to improve the integration and strengthen social cohesion between Syrian and Turkish people in the community. Please click through the menu or scroll down for more information about our work.
Info Point TIAFI Info Point offers one-to-one support to all refugees who seek help. The Info Point is world famous is Turkey and the phone is non-stop ringing! We assist with understanding the Turkish asylum system, the education system, available health care services and social services. Pro-bono lawyers come by once a week to provide legal help. You can visit the Info Point during weekdays between 12:00 pm and 5:30 pm, or WhatsApp or call the help line: 0537 868 22 64. Since many Syrian refugees do not speak Turkish, the Info Point has an Arabic Facebook page – with posts reaching over 50.000 views – to help Syrians navigate Turkish society.
Play a Day TIAFI offers a Play a Day service to children aged 4 to 6 years old. Here they play, draw, sing, learn how to be with other children in a group and enjoy warm healthy lunches. Meanwhile, their mothers can go to work. Many refugee and Turkish women need to work to support themselves and their families, but a shortage of affordable daycare facilities restricts their chances of finding employment. The Play a Day service, which is free and includes transport if needed, offers a solution. One that fills the community center with laughter!
Open Kitchen Every day, refugee women voluntarily cook free lunches for everyone in the Tepecik neighbourhood who can use a hearty meal. As such, they not only become part of the community but also lend a small hand by feeding poor people in the area. Our lunch hour is between 13.00 and 13.45 (Monday to Friday). Feel free to come!
Charity Shop TIAFI is located in one of the poorest areas in Izmir where many people do not have enough money to afford clothes. Against a really small amount they can buy items (new or second hand) from our shop. The collected money helps TIAFI to meet expenses such as ingredients for daily meals, child care materials etc. Items from the charity shop are given away for free to those who do not have any Lira to spend.
Sports Room In our sports room we provide physical exercise support for children, including children with physical disabilities (often as a result of war), conducted by a qualified trainer. Here the children can develop their motor skills, make new friends, learn about fair play and be (more) comfortable in their bodies. Also, we organise yoga sessions for children and women.
Workshop In the workshop Syrian women learn skills such as sewing, jewellery making and leather crafts. This not only helps them entering the labour market but is also a space for creativity, resulting into a series of beautiful leather, suede, upcycled canvas and hippie bags. Would you like to know more about the bags? Do e-mail us at email@example.com. On our Facebookpage and Instagram we also present them now and then.
Turkish Speaking Club for youth and women Through our Turkish speaking club we aim to improve the Turkish of Syrian women and children.
ABC Service The ABC Service provides additional support to Syrian and Turkish children in their school duties such as homework, exams, and projects. Also, we help children who do not go to a regular Turkish school yet with their admission and enrollment.
Over the past six years, more than 3.4 million registered Syrian refugees (around 46 per cent of them female) have entered Turkey. About 130.000 of them live in Izmir, Turkeys third largest city. Estimates suggest that currently one-fourth of Syrian refugee households in Turkey are headed by women. Many of these women have lost their husbands and families during the war or in their flight, and now find themselves living alone with their children.
Integration is an extraordinarily difficult task for these women, as many who never had formal employment within Syria are now required to enter the labour market within a community that is already economically strained. In addition, the majority of these women do not speak Turkish well and are battling internal and sometimes physical wounds that result from the conflict they have fled. As a consequence, there are women and children living in very poor and sometimes dangerous circumstances.
We want to change this. By establishing a safe space for vulnerable women and their children in the multicultural and economically deprived Tepecik neighbourhood of Zetyinlik we will work together to preserve their dignity and develop a secure livelihood.
There are many people, foundations, partners and sponsors pitching in. Together we get the community center up and running, help women and children to be safe and have an independent life so they can integrate into local society and so the children can go to school. To further develop our programs and enhance our impact, we continuously look for new partnerships and sponsors. Feel free to get in touch and discuss the possibilities: firstname.lastname@example.org. For now we especially would like to thank:
BMZ and GIZ | The project “Improving social services of community centres for refugees and host communities in Turkey” is financed by the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development and implemented by Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit.
Want to help?
1. DONATE Any money you are able to provide will go directly to: the rent of our Community Center; school fees and books for the kids; materials and sewing machines for women who will be trained to seamstresses; food and sanitary delivery to self-made camp’s and kitchen costs. So every donation or donating on a monthly basis is more than welcome. You can make a donation directly at our centre or by following this link.
2. VOLUNTEER People who want to stick out their hands are very welcome. We do have two basic rules. You have to stay at least 7 days full time, do your own crowd funding and bring money with you to spend on the project. Apply now and we will answer all your questions.