Dreams Are Coming True
Written By: Neriman Kahveci
Photography : Neriman Kahveci
Listening carefully to her instructor, Ayşe tries to convey what she understands to her hands and eyes. The wig she practices on turns into various beautiful hairstyles in her hands. There are skin care and cosmetics classes coming up... This is brand new information for Ayşe, who came from Aleppo 4 years ago, and it is obvious that she enjoys what she's doing.
Ayşe is one of the 3 million asylum seekers living in Turkey. She is one of the beneficiaries participating in vocational training courses given at the Turkish Red Crescent's 's Ankara Altındağ Community Center free of charge. "I want to open my own hairdressing salon in the future," says Ayşe, after nine months of hairdressing training. "I live in this neighborhood. I was so bored at home and we had economic problems. My husband works as a carpenter whenever he can get a job. I have learned that there is a community center here and free courses are provided. For now, I only do the hair of the people in the neighborhood I live to improve."
The Turkish Red Crescent Ankara Community Center has been supporting foreign nationals living in Turkey, especially Syrians, since 2015. The Community Center, supported by the European Union, provides vocational training courses, which give new hope of employment to the thousands of people who have migrated to Turkey. There are community centers of the Turkish Red Crescent in cities such as İstanbul, Bursa, Şanlıurfa, Adana, Mersin, Konya, Kilis and İzmir. Şanlıurfa, Kilis, İstanbul, Ankara and Konya community centers are financed by the European Union. The salaries of the trainers, the administrative costs, the materials necessary for the courses are covered by this fund. The project is jointly implemented by the Danish Red Crescent in cooperation with the Turkish Red Crescent.
Ayse's 14-year-old son, Yusuf, is also watching his mother with curious eyes, reportedly also witnessing her trials with neighbors at home. Yusuf relates their journey from Syria to Turkey as follows: "There was war in Syria, people were dying. We thought we could not live there any longer, we could not sleep at night. Uncle came home one day and said 'You cannot stay here anymore' and we went on our way. It took us two days to arrive to Turkey. First we reached Kilis, then we settled in Ankara." "If there was no war in our country, I wanted to go to school and be a police officer," says Yusuf. However, this is not the end of Yusuf's path, as the Community Center has opened a window of opportunity for him by enabling him to register for the school he wants with the help of the center's officials.
Not only asylum seekers but also Turks benefit from the Turkish Red Crescent Community Center. Already one goal of the center is to bring these two communities together. In addition to Turkish lessons, there are courses like computer training, crafts, hairdressing, and Turkish and asylum-seekers living together. Although languages and origins are different, their dreams are similar: to learn and to be productive.