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YanYana (Side by Side) - Psychosocial Support Project for Syrian Refugee Children

The project was carried out in 2017-2018 by the Bir İZ Community Mental Health Association, in cooperation with the YUVA Association and Game Therapies Association in the province of Istanbul. The aim of the project was to reduce discrimination against Syrian refugee children and support their social inclusion in public schools. During the project, psychosocial support activities were conducted by teachers in schools, and group therapies with Syrian children were carried out by trained professionals. The Psychosocial Support Programme was carried out in schools with Syrian and Turkish students aged 7-11; it was based on interactive activities and games, including the YanYana Board Game, an innovative educational tool designed under the guidance of psychologists and pedagogues to foster communication and inclusion among children. 3,500 students and 120 teachers from 72 schools in Istanbul were involved in the programme. The YanYana Group Therapy Program developed for traumatized Syrian children was carried out by 73 trained therapists and reached 550 Syrian children. Through the various activities carried out within the YanYana project, it was possible to raise awareness among teachers and students on the importance of expressing emotions in the classroom environment, improve class relations, and increase the social skills of Syrian children. The project also allowed the development of partnerships with the Istanbul Provincial Directorate of National Education and various NGOs with a focus on the social inclusion of refugee kids in public schools in Turkey.