Our work in Turkey

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Our work in Turkey

Concern Worldwide began working in Turkey in 2013 due to the high volume of refugees there as a result of the Syrian crisis. We also have programmes helping those affected by the crisis in Syria and Lebanon.

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Syria crisis

The conflict in Syria is now in its 8th year. An estimated half million lives have been lost.

Over 11 million people have been displaced by the war, with 5.5 million fleeing the country as refugees, the vast majority of whom are now hosted by Syria’s neighbouring countries of Turkey, Lebanon, Jordan, Iraq and Egypt. In Syria, over 13 million people are in need of humanitarian assistance, including 6 million internally displaced persons. 

Concern has been working with Syrians affected and displaced by the conflict in Syria and in the region for five years, responding to the largest refugee crisis since the Second World War . Our programmes meet the urgent needs of the newly displaced, while also responding to the longer terms needs of conflict-affected people both in camps and in vulnerable host communities. We currently work with Syrians in Syria, Turkey and Lebanon.

Refugees in Turkey

There are over 3.2 million Syrians living in Turkey under temporary protection for humanitarian reasons. 10% of these are living in government-run camps, while the remainder are living in both urban and rural areas across the country.

Concern began its response in Turkey in 2014 by providing emergency assistance like food baskets and hygiene kits to the large influx of refugees fleeing Syria and crossing the border into Turkey.

We are now focused on supporting tens of thousands of Syrian refugees and the host community, through education, livelihoods and protection support. The protracted nature of the Syrian crisis has given rise to a need to find longer-term solutions for, and assistance to, Syrian refugees and the host population.  

Concern works with local and national level government authorities and with local and community-based organisations who are supporting Syrian refugees in Turkey. Our teams help build up the capacity of local organisations through trainings on humanitarian response and principles and support functions (e.g. accounting).

Bana Nasser (38) and her daughter Amena (11) (names changed for security reasons) talks about her family’s experience of fleeing Syria for Turkey. Photo: Kevin Carroll/Concern Worldwide.


Concern in Turkey works in collaboration with the Turkish Ministry of Education and local partners, to alleviate financial and other constraints on families so that Syrian boys and girls can access quality education to support their learning and wellbeing.

In 2017, Concern supported over 5,700 school-aged Syrian girls and boys to enter the formal education system through Turkish language support and accelerated learning programs. We also supported the families of 290 out-of-schools working children who have now stopped working and are enrolled in school through the support of our conditional cash for education program.

Concern also supported public schools and 33 Temporary Education Centres (TECs), which are schools set up by the Turkish Government to integrate Syrian children. We set up libraries in 17 TECs and supported 4,546 children to access education by providing safe school transportation to and from public schools. Five government schools were rehabilitated to support improved access to quality education.

Outreach is another important activity conducted by Concern teams in Turkey, to inform parents of Syrian children about the importance of education and linking children with educational services. Last year, 8,664 households were reached through education outreach activities.

Finally, Concern organises social cohesion activities, such as sports and recreational activities, aimed at bringing Turkish and Syrian children together and contributing to social cohesion. In 2017, over 2,000 children of both nationalities participated in these events.

Students and teacher in a temporary education centre (TEC) in Sanliurfa, south-eastern Turkey, funded by ECHO and run by Concern Worldwide. Photo: EU/ECHO/Caroline Gluck.


Many Syrians in Turkey live in poverty, and struggle to find stable employment allowing them to meet their families’ needs. As the conflict in Syria enters its 8th year, livelihood opportunities for Syrian refugees in Turkey are increasingly important to reduce their risk of resorting to negative coping mechanisms including child marriage, polygamy, child labour, reduction in quality/quantity of food consumption, substandard housing, and street begging.

Our team is working to improve employment prospects for Syrian refugees through vocational training. Last year, over 400 Syrian refugees improved their skills through this programme.

Rose Caldwell and Concern staff meet with Haifa (name changed for security) a refugee and former teacher from Syria. Concern were distributing kits to vulnerable families living in Turkey, March 2016. Photo: Sahedul Islam/Concern Worldwide.


Life as a refugee can take an enormous psychological toll. Through a partner organisation, we engaged men and boys in preventing Gender-based Violence (GBV) and promoting community resilience. In parallel, we facilitated protection workshops for women and girls and provided activities to promote psychosocial wellbeing and resilience in boys and girls. In 2017, 763 Syrian men, 753 Syrian women, and 1,483 Syrian children completed the course on ‘Engaging Men to Promote Resilience’.

Concern in Turkey also disseminates information to Syrian and other nationality refugees on their rights and provides direct support and accompaniment, so that they can access the services provided by the Turkish Government and other actors. With our partners and the support of local authorities, local and international NGOs and the refugee and host communities, we also identify refugees who are at risk of or are exposed to violence, exploitation and abuse and refer them to the appropriate support services. Last year, Concern supported 2,440 persons through this programme.


Our donors in Turkey include: the EU Regional Trust Fund in response to the Syrian Crisis (the "Madad Fund"), the European Civil Protection and Humanitarian Aid Operations Department (ECHO), the US Bureau of Population, Refugees, and Migration (BPRM), UNHCR, Irish Aid, the Swiss Development Cooperation, the German Agency for International Cooperation (GIZ), NetHope, and International Relief Teams.

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