Yıldırım Municipality Social Cohesion Centre (YILSUM)

The project in brief

Implemented by

Yıldırım Municipality, Bursa




November 2019 - Ongoing


Bursa Yıldırım Municipality established a Social Cohesion Centre in the district to enhance social cohesion between host and refugee communities, as well as to support women cooperatives by providing empowerment initiatives and livelihood opportunities. The Social Cohesion Centre also provides social assistance to people in need, including refugees during the COVID-19 pandemic. The Social Cohesion Centre cooperates with UNHCR, universities, and public institutions to implement its activities.

Project aims 

The project aims to increase social cohesion initiatives in Bursa as well as to enhance refugee self reliance by providing livelihood opportunities through vocational trainings and Turkish language courses 

Resources used 

The centre cooperates with Public Education Centres on vocational trainings and Turkish language training certification, and accreditation process which increase refugees’ participation to trainings. Cooperation with UNHCR also increased the centres’ outreach.

Main activities of the Good Practice

  • The Social Cohesion Centre provided Turkish language courses, courses on accreditation exams to graduate primary and middle school for adults.
  • The Centre cooperates with Turkish Employment Agency (İŞKUR) to provide livelihoods opportunities as well as provides vocational trainings and workshops.
  • The Centre works with migrant health centres to reach school age children and provide information sessions on health, education and social cohesion.
  • The Centre cooperates with Uludağ University, Dumlupınar University and Bursa Technical University to provide information sessions and seminars on living in multicultural environment.


Group of women sitting at a table working



  • Public Education Centres
  • Migrant Health Centres
  • Turkish Red Crescent (Kızılay) Community Centres
  • ASAM
  • ISKUR (Turkish Employment Agency)

Challenges and how they were overcome


The Centre had to limit the number of participants for trainings and workshops due to COVID-19 measures.

Language barriers occurred since the staff in the Centre could not speak Arabic.

The refugee women had concerns regarding attending the trainings since they are mostly taking care of children and elderly in their households.

How they were overcome

The Centre tripled the number of classes to enable refugees to continue the course, and organized outdoor trainings.

The Centre receives interpretation support from Association for Solidarity with Asylum-Seekers and Migrants (ASAM) when needed.

The Centre referred refugee women with children to receive support from municipalities’ kinder gardens and encouraged them to continue to attend trainings, seminars and workshops in the scope of a community-based support mechanism.

Results of the Good Practice 

  • The Centre reduced negative perceptions among host and refugee communities and provided better understanding of living in a multicultural environment.
  • The Centre enhanced refugees self-resilience on access to education and livelihood opportunities as well as raised refugees awareness on support mechanisms in Turkey.
  • The Centre facilitated the access of refugees to social assistance programs.


A group of women wearing masks hold up their diplomas to the camera


How the project meets the GCR Objectives

Objective 2: Enhance refugee self-reliance

The Centre supports refugees to access education with Turkish languages courses and provides opportunities for accreditations exams to graduate primary and middle school for adults. 

The project also supports refugees in accessing livelihood opportunities through vocational trainings.

Next steps 

The project will continue and extend courses for higher education exam for foreigner students (YÖS).

Further support required for the project to continue or scale up

The project could expand its outreach and reach more people in need by increasing coordination with NGOs and municipalities. Also, increasing the ISKUR (Turkish Employment Agency) supported courses will strengthen the capacity of the project.


Submitted by: 

Filiz Çilingir, Social Service Department director of Yıldırım Municipality-Turkey

[email protected]