TIAFI is headed up by Anne O’Rorke. Anne has had a long-time concern for people and humanitarian issues. She attained a degree in Social Studies from University College Cork, Ireland and has enjoyed a successful business career both in Ireland and Turkey where she spent the past 14 years in Izmir as CEO of a construction company. She also holds a Diploma in Executive and Life Coaching from Marino Institute of Education, Dublin, Ireland. Anne set up TIAFI in 2017, in response to the difficulties experienced by the vast number of refugees fleeing from war-torn Syria who require physical and social support in a safe and welcoming environment.
TIAFI Info Point offers face-to-face support to all refugees who come to our Community Centre seeking help. Our information service is accessible via WhatsApp, Messenger and Facebook and is well regarded amongst the refugee community in Turkey. We assist refugees across Turkey and internationally with navigating the Turkish asylum system, education system, and available health and social services. We are proud to team up with the Izmir Bar Association who provide a free weekly legal clinic and advise on matters as Legal consultations on asylum matters, Healthcare, housing and school attendance, ID appointments and red crescent registrations, Employment and training opportunities.
The Info Point is open during weekdays between 09:00 pm and 5:30 pm and is managed by Anwar Abdullah who speaks Kurdish, Arabic, Turkish and English and can also be contacted via WhatsApp or the telephone help line +90 (537) 868 22 64. Since many Syrian refugees do not speak Turkish, the Info Point has an Arabic Facebook page. Anwar himself has a background in humanitarian response and information support to the Syrian community in Turkey. Anwar has worked with Mercy Corps in Turkey since the beginning of the Syrian refugee crisis in 2016. He provided information and counselling to beneficiaries on how to access health, education and legal services. Whilst with Mercy Corps, Anwar received training on women and child protection together with community worker protection and communication training. He worked with other NGO providers on a cross organisation approach to agree templates and to develop ‘best practice’ solutions. Anwar holds a technical diploma in Hotel Administration from the Aleppo Institute, Syria.
Our kitchen is managed by Ayse and Maryam and provides cooked healthy meals for those in our Community Centre thereby promoting a sense of togetherness.
Exercise and Flexibility Programme
A study by Mavi Kalem in 2019 stated that 85% of Syrian children are estimated to suffer long-term effects as a result of the war, which often manifests as aggression and/or social isolation. Within our Exercise and Flexibility Programme, sponsored by Avicenna Kultur- und Hilfswerk, we provide soft play structures and gentle exercise support which enable the children who have physical challenges to stretch and strengthen their bodies in a safe environment. The children develop their motor skills, make new friends, improve their social skills and learn to be more comfortable in their bodies. We also teach parents physiotherapeutic exercises that they are able to practice at home and organise yoga sessions for children and women, which helps increase muscle strength, reduce stress and anxiety, and improve overall health and wellbeing. Through our prosthetics programme we have provided 90 children with prosthetics, wheelchairs and other assistive devices, but with your help we could help more children.
All this work is conducted by Mohammad Alsairavan and Melek Elsalih who are consultant physiotherapists. Mohammad plans and oversees the activities within our Exercise and Flexibility Programme. He graduated with a BA in Physical Therapy (4 years) from Al-Baath University, Homms, Syria. Since then he has practised extensively as a physiotherapist in both Syria and Turkey. He furthered his studies in Turkey and achieved a Masters Certificate from Dokuz Eylul University, Izmir in 2016. Mohammed speaks Arabic, English and Turkish and also works as a translator for TIAFI. His work is invaluable to TIAFI. Malik was awarded a BA in Physiotherapy from Al-Baath University, Homms, Syria. After completing his BA, he worked in Homs Maternity Hospital and at Keferlaha Hospital. Upon moving to Turkey, he joined the TIAFI team and now helps Mohammad with mobility activities.
TIAFI provides vocational workshops for Syrian refugee women to learn sewing, jewellery making and leather crafts, which are taught by Ahmed, our professional tailor. Thereby economically empowering the women with marketable skills and a safe space to express their creativity. 95% of our products are made from upcycled and recycled materials. We display our bags, purses and jewellery through our website and Facebook and Instagram pages. Feel free to e-mail us at firstname.lastname@example.org if you would like to receive one of these individually made products in exchange for a donation to TIAFI.
Seminars and Group trainings
We provide workshops to the local community and training on topics on a wide range of issues affecting families.
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 enrolment.
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!
Turkish Speaking Club
Through our Turkish speaking club we aim to improve the Turkish of Syrian women and children.