Refugee children in Turkey celebrate Children’s Day

Refugee children in Turkey celebrate Children’s Day

Sevil Erkuş-ANKARA
Refugee children in Turkey celebrate Children’s Day

Turkish children are not the only ones celebrating Children’s Day in Turkey on April 23, which Mustafa Kemal Atatürk dedicated to all children of the world, but also children from Syria and different nationalities, who came to Turkey fleeing wars in their countries, also enjoy this day.

Syrian children benefitting from Al Farah Child and Family Support Centers in Gaziantep, Adana and İzmir, where the Association for Solidarity with Asylum Seekers and Migrants (ASAM) is engaged in an ongoing partnership with UNICEF, talked about their dreams for the future.

‘Children’s Day for all children, regardless of religion, language, race, gender’

Diala, a 15-year-old, is just one of the 425,000 refugee children who have benefited from the Al Farah centers operational since 2016. When she came to Turkey a few years ago, she was out of school at the time and was first supported to become a part of the Accelerated Learning Programme (ALP). Diala is now looking forward to the first day of school she will attend with the help of the Support for School Enrolment Programme, which is being implemented with the collaboration of UNICEF and ASAM.

Reavealing her dreams of becoming a pilot, Diala said: “We talked a lot about the future in the empowerment programs. My first goal is to start school. I believe I am lucky now because I have a chance to achieve my dreams. I dream of an action-packed life rather than living in a routine. That’s why I want to be a pilot,” she says. Diala also started taking piano classes at Al Farah and dreams of standing on her own two feet.

Diala points out the fact that Children’s Day is for all children, regardless of religion, language, race, or gender.

“On this day, we not only have fun but also have the opportunity to meet and play with different children. Also, the fact that April 23 is a day gifted to children makes me feel special. I feel lucky to celebrate this day. I will participate in the celebrations at the event that SGDD-ASAM will hold with Seyhan Municipality on April 23,” she says.

Refugee children in Turkey celebrate Children’s Day

Rami dreams of becoming musician

Rami, who lives in Gaziantep, attends rhythm training classes at Gaziantep Düztepe Al Farah Child and Family Support Center and dreams of becoming a musician. “I find the rhythm to be just like life. Every moment of life has a different rhythm. There is a rhythm in a heartbeat, in a song, in a step, in everything,” he says.

“Children’s Day is a day where children laugh, have fun and feel special,” Rami says. He attended the April 23 festival in the event organized by Düztepe Al Farah Child and Family Support Center on April 20 and performed a solo rhythm show there. “It was a unique experience for me to perform in front of such a large group. Everyone watched and applauded me. I was very excited and enjoyed it a lot,” he says.

Asked about his wishes as a child on Children’s Day, Rami says, “Some families do not allow or support their daughters to go to school. I wish for all children to go to school, regardless of whether they are boys or girls.”

Hishem has passion for music and football

Hishem, a 12-year-old who has been participating in the events held at the Al Farah Child and Family Support Center in İzmir since 2018, was introduced to music in this center. He continues guitar classes and says, “Playing guitar makes me happy when I am sad. I find it relaxing.”

Mathematics is Hishem’s favorite subject, and his dream is to become a computer engineer. Another passion of Hishem is football. He attended football training with Turkish and refugee children and wants to be a football player and play for Beşiktaş.

Ayşegül Yalçın Eriş, deputy general coordinator of ASAM, said that within the scope of the Al Farah Child and Family Support Center Project run in nine provinces, they have provided services to approximately 720,000 people, 425,000 of whom are children. “We want to avert a ‘lost generation’ and continue our efforts to strengthen the psychosocial well-being of children so that they can dream about the future and preserve their hopes,” she says.

childrens day,