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 has resulted in the largest refugee crisis the world has seen since the Second World War. Over 11 million people have been displaced by the war – 4.8 million have fled the country as refugees and the vast majority of these are now hosted by Syria’s neighbouring countries of Turkey, Lebanon, Jordan, Iraq and Egypt.

Refugees in Turkey

There are over 2.7 million Syrian refugees in Turkey. 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 southeastern Turkey.

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.

We continue to provide assistance to the most vulnerable families that are not living in camps. In 2017, our main activities include:

  • Vocational training to increase individuals’ ability to earn a living
  • Transportation and cash assistance to make it easier for children to attend school
  • Informal education to help students transition to the Turkish formal system
  • Protection support for vulnerable individuals
  • Engagement with local NGO partners to build up their capacity to contribute to the crisis response.


Among school-aged children, access to education is severely restricted meaning a large proportion has now missed up to four years of schooling. It is vital that educational opportunities are made available to prevent Syrian refugee children from becoming a “lost generation”. Additionally, enabling children to return to school is a crucial part of “normalising” life after crisis and is important in addressing psychosocial impacts.

Since 2014, Concern has been supporting formal and informal education for Syrian children in Turkey. With funding from the European Union’s Children of Peace Initiative, the US Bureau of Population, Refugee and Migrants, and the European Commission's department for Civil Protection and Humanitarian Aid Operations (ECHO), we are working to help school-aged Syrian children transition into formal education in Turkey.

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.

In collaboration with the Turkish Ministry of Education, we are providing conditional cash for education and transportation to schools and supporting Turkish and Arabic literacy. In this way, we are alleviating financial and other constraints on families so that children can access quality education to support their learning and wellbeing.

In 2016, Concern supported over 8,000 school students through our education programmes across Turkey.


Our team is working to improve employment prospects for Syrian refugees through vocational training. Last year, over 600 Syrian refugees improved their skills through this programme and over half of these were women.

Meeting basic needs

In 2016, in collaboration with Turkish authorities and with funding from ECHO, over 36,000 Syrian refugees received regular cash transfers allowing them to buy food, hygiene items, clothing and other essential items.

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.

Through a Special Needs Fund funded by ECHO, Concern is supporting the most vulnerable Syrian off-camp refugees to meet other basic needs. In 2016 alone, we supported 425 refugee cases through this fund.


Life as a refugee can take an enormous psychological toll. Through a partner organisation and with funding from Irish Aid, we engage men and boys in preventing Gender-based Violence (GBV) and promoting community resilience. In parallel, we facilitate protection workshops for women and girls in the same locations and provide activities to promote psychosocial wellbeing and resilience in children.


Concern works with local and community-based organisations that are supporting Syrian refugees in Turkey. Our teams help build up their capacity for a comprehensive and principled response to the crisis through trainings on humanitarianism and support functions like finance and accounting.

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