How Did We Make Contact with the Lives of Beneficiaries in 2021?
In 2021, we have proceeded on our consultancy and protection support works.
The Consultation Line was launched in September 2020, when we started working remotely due to the impact of and measures concerning the pandemic, as a toll-free number for beneficiaries from all over Turkey. The most significant purpose of the consultation line was to facilitate and ensure a functioning platform for beneficiaries to reach someone concerning health, legal, etc. issues and to get instant answers with regard to their questions and problems. Another aim was to create a common line through which they could get information about our services and work.
In 2021, we changed the time intervals in order to respond to beneficiaries’ questions in a prolonged time frame of the day. We extended the hours of access to the consultation line by means of the shift system of our project team members working on the consultation line. As of October, our consultation line started to serve between 09:30 A.M. and 20:00 P.M. Throughout 2021, phone calls to the consultation line were mainly regarding requests for health, basic needs, cash and food support. In terms of the health field, support requests for vaccination appointments were consistent. We have observed that the demands for basic needs, food and cash support continued. Receiving the requests of the beneficiaries, the general counselors made confirmation calls to learn the status of the outcome after each referral.
The consultation line and case studies, through which we monitor the needs of the field, revealed that pregnant women and newborns need financial and in-kind support, especially in 2021. We seeked for a fund that would support the newborns’ food, clothing and consumables and financially cover the doctor’s check-up of the expectant mother. We defined the target group and their needs, and sought and found additional resources. In 2022, we will deliver this support to newborns and mothers.
Within the scope of 2021 Child Protection Project, we provided individual psychological counseling to children and their parents. We held psychosocial support activities and information activities with children. In these activities, we aimed to strengthen the emotional, social, cognitive and physical development of children and to increase their awareness of protecting themselves and saying no.
By means of the scrutinized work of the case management team, we supported the beneficiaries’ access to services that they can benefit from in order to reduce the negative effects experienced in their lives. Within the scope of this study, we made referrals to relevant institutions and organizations in order to find solutions to people’s problems, and we followed the results of these referrals, and provided Turkish translation support when necessary. The sections given below are some case examples from our studies.
I’m 15 years old but I feel as if I am already a grown up!
Amine is the middle child of a family of 9 children. She came to Turkey with her family due to the conflicts in Syria. She lost her mother due to the conflicts. His father is also unable to work due to the health problems he experienced during the war. Children are the breadwinner of the household.
Amine also works to support the domestic economy and to take care of her younger siblings. Amine said, “Even though I am 15 years old, I feel as if I am already a grown up and old because of the responsibilities and obligations I must fulfill.” She expresses that she wanted to go to school but could not go due to her economic and domestic responsibilities.
The family contacted us due to a chronic health problem. However, after the interview, we observed that there are indeed very different risks and vulnerabilities. We interviewed the parent and children separately. We made an appointment with the hospital for the chronic health problem. We provided the necessary referral for the family to be supported financially and for the children to continue their education. We referred the children to individual psychological counseling for psychosocial support.
I start to work at 8 am in the morning and I keep working until 8 pm in the evening
Şen family had to leave their country due to the conflicts in Syria and came to Turkey. The father has serious health problems due to an occupational accident in Turkey where he worked. Children had to drop out of school when their father became incapacitated in order to earn a living for the family.
Elif works as an errand girl in a textile sweatshop: “I work as an errand girl. I’m so tired, they don’t let us sit down even for a while. I cut fabric, collect the pieces of fabric left on the tables. I start to work at 8 am in the morning and I keep working until 8 pm in the evening.”
Elif, whose workplace was closed due to the impacts and measures of the pandemic and who is not going to work, is happy on the one hand and sad on the other hand because she cannot earn a living for the family. “I used to spend the whole day at work. I feel happy that full lockdown is in effect because I can finally rest. I used to be so tired when I was at work. However, now I can’t sleep well because I don’t go to work. Sometimes I think I’m late for work, I wake up from my sleep, glance at the watch and see that it’s not even morning yet.”
Elif, who went to school up to the 4th grade, said, “I would like to go back to school and study further and eventually become a doctor. But under these circumstances, it is beyond the realm of possibility because I am working. If my brother and I do not work, we will not be able to earn a living for the family.”
After meeting with the mother and children separately, we gave legal information about child labor and education in Turkey. We made financial support referrals for the child’s education. We contacted the municipalities and organizations in the district they live in to provide in-kind support. We referred the children to our individual psychological counseling.