EU-funded Turkish Red Crescent Community Centre in Kahramanmaraş officially opens its doors to refugees and host communities
Today, we celebrated the official opening of the Turkish Red Crescent community centre in Kahramanmaraş which will bring refugees and host communities together. The ceremony is attended by the district Governer Mr Kadir Okatan, Vice Mayor Mr Ramazan Tutlu, IFRC Head of Delegation Ms Mette Petersen and Minister Counsellor Simona Gatti, Head of Cooperation of the EU Delegation to Turkey. The community centre is part of a regional project coordinated by the Danish Red Cross worth nearly €50 million, with €32 million earmarked for Turkey. In Turkey, the project is implemented by the Turkish Red Crescent, aiming to reach more than 200.000 refugees and host community members.
The project aims to increase the resilience of Syrian refugees and host communities by improving their health, livelihoods and psychosocial well-being. The project also supports the Turkish Red Crescent by strengthening its capacity to reach the most vulnerable refugees and members of the host communities. Implementation started at the end of December 2016 and activities now cover 11 provinces; Istanbul, Ankara, Konya, Kayseri, Hatay, Kilis, Gaziantep, Şanlıurfa, Karamanmaras, Mersin and Mardin.
The three year project has already achieved many objectives within its first year, including: more than 2.000 people having participated in professional skills, vocational or business development training courses; more than 16.000 people having been provided with information on registration, referral services; more than 15.000 Syrian refugees having received specialised mental health treatment and psychosocial support; more than 11.000 targeted refugees and host communities having attended social, cultural or networking events arranged by the community centres. Kahramanmaraş Community Centre will continue building on these achievements by bringing refugees and host communities together.
The Head of the EU Delegation to Turkey, Ambassador Christian Berger, said on the occasion: "These community centres play an important part in bringing the refugee population and the host communities closer together through, for instance, basic Turkish language courses and social activities. We acknowledge the great effort Turkey and its institutions have made to welcome refugees in the country. We also would like to thank the Turkish Red Crescent for the fast and efficient organisation of their network of EU-financed community centres that was set up in 11 provinces. We are sure that the centre in Kahramanmaraş will contribute to all these efforts."
The Facility for Refugees in Turkey:
The European Union has been supporting Turkey in response to the refugee crisis since 2011. Initial support was in the form of Civil Protection and Humanitarian Aid (ECHO). Other EU financial instruments for medium and long-term support were added later, responding to the protracted nature of the crisis. In January 2016 this support was substantially scaled up with the entry into force of the Facility for Refugees in Turkey.
Through the Facility, €3 billion has been contracted to assist both refugees and host communities in Turkey, by providing assistance in key areas such as education, health, infrastructure, socio-economic development and migration management. Under the €3 billion contracts have been signed for 72 projects and €1.9 million has been disbursed.
This funding comes on top of around €350 million which had been already allocated for refugee support in Turkey since the beginning of the crisis, and on top of bilateral aid provided by EU Member States.
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