Just two years ago, Samer was attending school like other children of his age group and excelled at his studies. Samer’s family are Syrian refugees who fled the conflict at home to reside in Turkey. His family were struggling financially and were dependent on the government of Turkey Emergency Social Safety Net (ESSN) payment of 720 TL (€93) a month (equivalent to 25TL / €3.13 per day). As this payment was not enough to support their family, Samer made the difficult decision to leave school early and start work.
Subsequently, in the two years that followed, Ahmad noticed his son’s emotional and social wellbeing deteriorating, but he didn't know how he could support him. Samer’s mood began to change and he became increasingly sadder, angrier, and nervous, while simultaneously isolating himself from the rest of the family.
When Ahmad visited one of Concern’s Protections Hubs in the districts of Sanliurfa province, in South East Turkey, he expressed his concern regarding his son’s emotional and social well-being and enquired if there was any psychological support available. Our team immediately informed him about all the services available and from there, took a holistic approach to support Samer and his family.
First, they discussed the negative consequences of child labour with Ahmad, in order to protect Samer and his right to education. They supported the family as a whole so they would not have to resort to similar negative coping mechanisms again. The family was referred to Concern’s 'Fighting Child Labour through Education' (FCLE) programme, which provides monthly incentives to families whose children are involved in the labour market, conditional on a 90% school attendance.
Secondly, because Ahmad noted that Samer seemed isolated, was often sad, nervous and becoming aggressive, the team registered Samer in the next cycle of Concern’s Psychosocial Support (PSS) programme. This Programme, supported by the European Civil Protection and Humanitarian Aid Operations (ECHO), is a 12-week, centre-based programme that helps children build resilience, improve well-being and develop relationships with themselves and with their peers.
Thirdly, Samer’s father and mother wanted to learn about different techniques to support their children, especially the social and behavioural challenges that Samer was facing. Based on this, the team enrolled Samer’s mother and father in Concern’s Caregiver Engagement (CGE) programme, which provides structured classes on key parenting techniques for challenges which are commonly faced, as well as providing a platform to discuss issues encountered within the household.
Samer left his job at the grocery shop and enrolled back into school. Additionally, he and his two brothers were registered in the PSS programme. This was a positive step for all three children, as it helped them to open up and engage more with their peers. However, it was most beneficial for Samer, as his father reported that it helped him overcome the psychological effects of working in the grocery shop.