EU-funded Turkish Red Crescent community centre opens in Mardin
Today, we are celebrating the official opening of the Turkish Red Crescent community centre in Mardin, a model that has brought refugees and host communities together across Turkey. The community centre, the 10th of its kind across Turkey, is part of a regional project coordinated by the Danish Red Cross worth nearly €50 million. Turkey is allocated the lion's share of this project with €32 million. In Turkey, the local project partner - the Turkish Red Crescent - aims to reach more than 200.000 refugees and host community members through the community centers' services. General Director of Turkish Red Crescent İbrahim Altan, Deputy General Director Alper Küçük, Governor and Deputy Mayor Mustafa Yaman participated the opening event.
The project aims to increase the resilience of Syrian refugees and host communities by improving their health, livelihoods and psychosocial well-being. It also strengthens the Turkish Red Crescent, enabling it to reach the most vulnerable refugees and host community members. 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.
This 3-year project has already achieved many objectives within its first year, including: more than 2.000 people participated in professional skills, vocational or business development training courses; more than 16.000 people were provided with information on registration, referral services; more than 15.000 Syrian refugees received specialised mental health treatment and psychosocial support; more than 11.000 targeted refugees and host community members attended the centres' social, cultural or networking events. Mardin 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: "This is now the 10th operational community centre that the EU has helped set up in Turkey. Each one of the centres reaches thousands of refugees and host community members. We are very impressed with the achievements of these centres so far, as they have given people an opportunity to meet and make friends, learn Turkish and pick up vocational skills that will make them more independent. We acknowledge the great effort Turkey has made to welcome refugees, and we would like to thank the Turkish Red Crescent for the fast and efficient organisation of this invaluable network of community centres.
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 support, 72 projects are on-going and €1.9 million have 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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