ACTED has been present in Turkey since 2012, with cross-border relief interventions in Syria from southeastern Turkey, as well as in-country response to the Syrian refugee crisis deployed for both refugee populations as well as host communities. Activities in Mersin province are mainly protection-related, through the provision of legal aid for refugees, and focus on improving access to employment for the population, by means of language courses and vocational training sessions.
Turkey currently hosts approximately 4 million refugees from nearby countries such as Syria, Iraq, and the oPT. Syrians are the largest refugee group in Turkey with a population of over 3.6 million. Refugees across Turkey continue to face significant challenges in accessing and integrating within the local labour market. Issues in accessing work permits and the language barrier, as well as the lack of available job opportunities, force many refugees into the informal labour market. These work opportunities are often precarious as uncontracted workers can be fired without notice and cannot benefit from basic workers’ rights such as health insurance.
The protracted nature of the Syrian conflict is forcing refugees to stay longer in Turkey, where they face increasing challenges and where the coexistence with host communities is not always easy. Integration into the economic and social fabric is challenging and only few refugees are employed due to the language barriers preventing them from accessing skilled professions. As a result, families face difficulties accessing basic services and must often resort to negative coping mechanism (reduced frequency of meals, etc.).
ACTED provides support to Syrian, Iraqi, Palestinian, and Jordanian refugees in Mersin province in southern Turkey. This includes Turkish language courses and vocational trainings so as to facilitate their participation in the formal labour market. Additionally, ACTED conducts workshops to strengthen the livelihoods opportunities for refugees by increasing their understanding of their rights and the full spectrum of services available to them. The workshops also foster dialogue between refugees and the private sector, in turn facilitating their job search. Ongoing legal counselling and community outreach further ensure that refugees can receive specialized support and enjoy access to relevant services provided by Turkish agencies.