Hi dear WorkAwayer,
We are an humanitarian relief organization from Germany. We are Betül and Markus.
Already after our first aid missions to Turkey and along the Balkan route, we realized that we needed to find a way to provide long-term, sustainable and dignified support for people on the run, apart from direct emergency relief on the ground.
Our special attention, we wanted the many single women who lost their men in the war and give to their children. For them it is especially difficult, alone and without protection of the family, to create a new, independent life in safety and dignity.
Many of the young women have lost their husbands in war or on the run and live alone as single mothers, with their children together. These young women have little chance of making a living. For the most part they live in two districts of Izmir. There are currently about 70,000 Syrian refugees in the Basmane district and another 40,000 in the Buca district. The accommodations, apartments you can not call them, are for the most part run down and in very poor condition. Often without running water, dilapidated and with mold on the walls, the women live here with their children and sometimes have to spend totally overpriced rents on the rooms. As a result, the way to prostitution is often inevitable.
The idea for a community center for single women and thus also for sewing workshop was born. We wanted to create a safe haven for these women and their children. A place where they can feel safe and secure, find their dignity again through employment and allow their children to attend school.
Said and done! In an old shoe factory on the outskirts of "Basmane" (a district in Izmir in which about 70,000 refugees live) we have launched our community center.
Meanwhile, the old, gray shoe factory has created a wonderful, colorful place full of love and harmony. In the small school the children learn Turkish, English and Arabic. The women can learn the Turkish and English languages in a separate class.
In an info corner, we support women in everyday bureaucratic issues. In the charity shop with donations, the women can dignify themselves in a dignified way. In our Tea & Soup Kitchen, we now deliver up to 150 hot meals every day to all in need from the entire neighborhood. A young Syrian kindergarten teacher pedagogically prepares the rest of the day for the children.
We are especially pleased that we have been able to recruit a physiotherapist and a psychologist for our community center, Mohammed and Imge.
One of the most important components of our community center is our sewing studio. To support these women in the long term and sustainably, we want to give them the opportunity to preserve their dignity on the one hand and to be able to provide for themselves with the production of bags and other textiles on the other hand.
Cooking / shopping
Help with Eco project
Help in the house
Help with Computers / internet
We are sure that you will have a great experience during your time in Izmir. You will get in touch to many wonderful people around the world and you will learn many things about the different cultures and religions like the Turkish, Arabic, Syrian and from our other volunteers from all over the world.
If you would like to join us and our Community Center in Izmir, it is not necessary to have some specific skills. But it is absolutely necessary that you are very flexible in every kind of work. Help is needed there in many different ways. We support in our Community-Center Single Refugee Women their husbands missing or dead in Syria and their Children. We need help in our kitchen, to prepare food packs in the Camps, organize workshops for the children in our school, in our urban gardening project on the roof top of our center, helping in our warehouse and in our charity shop.
German, English, Turkish, Arabic
You can stay in our volunteer apartment in the heart of Izmir in an area called „Alsancak“. It is a a beautiful and safe place close the sea and the harbor with a wonderful promenade and many pubs, cafes, restaurants and clubs.
We have breakfast in our apartment and prepare it together. And we have lunch together with the people in need in our community-center.
You will have two off days a week (Saturday and Sunday). In this time you could do what ever you like to do. Discover the amazing City of Izmir with ist long history and many great cultural places or spend time at one of the beautiful beaches at the sea. If you would like to volunteer for us you have to fill in our volunteer questionnaire and we have to have a volunteer agreement. If you get in touch to us we will send it to you.
Limited internet access
We have pets
We are smokers
Maximum 4-5 hours a day, 5 days a week