The challenges and our response
With nearly three million Syrians living within its borders, Turkey hosts the highest number of refugees in the world. Ninety percent of Syrians in Turkey live in host communities and therefore face economic pressures to cover rent and living expenses while job and livelihoods opportunities are often limited.
As the Syrian civil war grinds into its eighth year, Syrians in Turkey are uncertain of if and when they will be able to go home, if ever, making it essential for refugee assistance programs to foster self-reliance and social cohesion between refugees and host communities.
International Medical Corps supports primary health care centres to increase refugees’ access to medical services. The facilities offer free primary health care, including pediatric clinics, as well as reproductive and maternal health care, and mental health and psychosocial support. We are also resuming our physical rehabilitation services for Syrians living with physical disabilities, many of which are the result of war wounds.
In addition, International Medical Corps has established a Health Special Needs Fund (HSNF) that makes funds available to cover the cost of advanced lifesaving health care services for Syrian and other refugees suffering from conditions not covered by temporary protection health care.
Mental health and Psychosocial Support
International Medical Corps provides psychological support for refugees through our partner organisation in Turkey. This includes individual counseling sessions with psychiatrists, psychologists, and social workers, who can provide higher-level care and referrals if needed, as well as emotional support through educational and recreational activities. These activities can include theater festivals, workshops in movie-making, games, life skills trainings, and other activities that bring people together—most often children and adolescents
Refugees are exposed to an immeasurable protection risks as they flee Syria and try to make their way in a foreign country they know little about, especially when finances are stretched and desperate families are pushed by circumstances to offer their children for child labour or early marriage. International Medical Corps is working to prevent and respond to gender-based violence (GBV) in Turkey by providing case management for existing cases, offering mental health support for survivors, and helping empower Syrians through training and skills-building activities. We also work with children and adolescents in community centres and child-friendly spaces and provide case management services for any protection cases.
Working with local partners, including NGOs, municipalities and other stakeholders, International Medical Corps has designed a capacity building strategy to ensure program quality and sustainability. Our goal is to improve our partners’ capacity, providing them the tools and systems to take on large-scale funding opportunities on their own elsewhere in Turkey. The capacity building covers both technical and programmatic training and supervision.