The number of Syrian refugees in Turkey today exceeds 2.5 million people, and the city of Gaziantep, a city in southern Turkey close to Syria’s northern border, is home to an estimated 326,000 refugees. An approximate 53 percent of these refugees are children and adolescents under the age of 18. While there are problems facing Syrian refugees across Turkey, including finding employment and enrolling children in formal schools, Gaziantep is one of the cities where these issues are most critical.
Using the same techniques that were developed in Lebanon, Basmeh and Zeitooneh sought to develop its base within the growing refugee community in Gaziantep, assess unmet needs, and identify service gaps that could be filled. We established a small office in Gaziantep in April 2015, before opening the doors of its community center in October of the same year. Through this community center, Basmeh and Zeitooneh aims to meet the needs not only of the large Syrian refugee community, but also the vulnerable members of the Turkish host community.