Social support and educational activities for refugees
Submitted by: İlyas Bulut / External Relations Assistant Specialist
Email: [email protected]
Introduction to the project
Türkiye Diyanet Foundation attaches great importance to the education of refugee children and young people. Since 2013, an initiative under the motto “I am aware, I am here” has continued to support thousands of refugee students within the framework of educational activities for Syrian school age children and young people. Since 2016, the foundation has pursued its educational activities by opening the Social Support and Education Centre (SODEM) under the Women, Family and Youth Centre (KAGEM) in Altındağ, which is the most densely populated area of Syrian refugees, in Ankara. SODEM aims to:
- Teach Turkish to refugees in Ankara, regardless of their age, at a level that can enable them to meet their needs, as well as enrol into a university (in order to facilitate their adaptation and integration to the local social life).
- Support the adaptation processes that will enable refugees to have jobs and occupations.
- Conduct guidance, coordination, religious and psychological rehabilitation activities to overcome the difficulties refugees face in social life.
- Mediate in-kind and cash assistance within the scope of the facilities.
The Turkiye Diyanet Foundation, via the Social Support and Training Centre (SODEM), strives for refugee children and young people to complete their education. Our foundation wants to bring children and young people, who are our future, into society as mentally healthy individuals. This is the greatest service and investment that can be made for our country, our nation and humanity as a whole. Thus, our aim is to minimize the effects of war, forced migration and the hardships faced as an asylum seeker.
Main activities of the Good Practice
- Language Seminars and Courses (TÖMER)
Refugee students who have not completed their education in their country of origin or want to receive higher education are required to know advanced level of Turkish and have a C1 certificate in order to study at Turkish universities. In this centre, Turkish language courses are provided for refugee students free of charge so that they may receive C1 certificate.
Within the scope of the project, 278 refugee students were provided with the opportunity to obtain C1 certificate between 2016-2019. The majority of these students have the opportunity to study in various universities. Other students who participated in the program were employed in several different business sectors.
- Foreign Students Exam (YÖS) Courses
Many universities in Turkey require foreign students to have TÖMER C1 certificate and have a Foreign Students Exam (YÖS) result.
As of the 2017-2018 academic year, YÖS courses were provided for refugee students who were in the last year of high school or high school graduates studying in the Advanced Turkish Language Teaching Program or had C1 certificate and wanted to get into higher education.
- SPSS Program Seminars
The SPSS, which stands for Statistical Program for Social Sciences, is a computer program used by institutions and organizations in the fields of educational, health and natural sciences as well as social sciences. Due to the intense demand for this program, 15 hours of intensive SPSS lessons are given weekly and provided by relevant YÖS instructors.
- Foreign Language Teaching Seminars
Since 2018, due to the increasing demand from refugees who have graduated from the above-mentioned centres or are self-employed or studying at universities, English lessons have been provided. Lessons are provided for 8 hours a week.
- Summer School Program
Turkish lessons, integration courses and seminars were provided for refugee children (60 students) for a five-month period, for a total of 350 hours, in order for them to adapt to life in Turkey.
In the summer of 2017, some 80 children were provided with Turkish courses, basic Islamic religious knowledge, drama and self-improvement courses.
In the summer of 2018, pre-primary programs were provided. 45 children successfully completed the programs in Turkish reading-comprehension, writing, as well as educational, instructive and awareness activities.
- Children's Play and Education Program
In the Children's Playground, cognitive, social-emotional and language-related games which support psychomotor development, drama, science-nature, art, Turkish and reading-writing activities are provided. In the 2018-2019 academic year, trainings were provided at these interactive playgrounds in order to help children overcome the trauma of war and destruction.
- The Presidency of Religious Affairs
- Woman, Family and Youth Centre (KAGEM)
Results of the Good Practice
Many children and young people who took refuge in Turkey were deprived of educational opportunities. Turkiye Diyanet Foundation meets financial and spiritual needs of refugees and provides education.
Thousands of refugee children have been able to attend schools within the above-mentioned educational projects. Students who have completed their secondary education have had the opportunity to continue to higher education opportunities, and many young men and women have found jobs.