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 seventh 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.
Health Care: International Medical Corps supports primary health care centres to increase refugees’ access to medical services. The facilities offer free primary health care, including paediatric clinics, as well as reproductive and maternal health care, and mental health and psychosocial support. We also provide physical rehabilitation services for Syrians living with physical disabilities, many of which are the result of war wounds. International Medical Corps also facilitates Syrians’ access to medical care by funding translators in Turkish hospitals.
Mental health and psychosocial support: International Medical Corps provides psychological support through our multi-service centres and primary health care clinics. This includes individual counselling 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 can include theatre festivals, workshops in movie-making, life skills trainings, and other exercises and games that bring people—most often children and adolescents—together.
Protection: Syrian refugees are exposed to an immeasurable protection risks as they flee Syria and possibly again in Turkey, especially as finances are stretched and push families to pursue negative coping mechanisms such as child labor and 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 youth in community centres and child-friendly spaces and provide case management services for any protection cases.
Social counselling, legal referrals and vocational training: International Medical Corps, together with its local partners, offers a variety of social services to refugees and asylum seekers. In collaboration with local partners, we support multi-service centres across the country that offer health screenings and referrals, skills-building in areas such as knitting, sewing, and computers as well as language classes, CV-writing and interview skills courses, and legal advice. The goal is to help Syrian refugees better access important services of daily life in Turkey, such as health care and education, as well as secure work.