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 has the largest refugee population in the world. Out of the 3.4 million registered refugees in July 2017, 80% of them are Syrian. The vast majority of refugees live outside of camps, in urban area, mainly in southern Turkey. They live in precarious conditions and struggle to access decent and sustainable employment.
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.).
Implementing cross-border relief interventions in Syria from southeastern Turkey since 2012, ACTED has expanded its response to the impact of the Syrian crisis in the country. ACTED’s efforts in Turkey aim to respond to the growing protection and livelihoods needs of refugees, particularly in Mersin province.
ACTED provides free-of-charge legal assistance to refugees and also implements a wide range of capacity building activities aimed to enhance the livelihood opportunities of the population who often struggle to access employment. Underemployment is largely due to the language barrier and the inadequacy of refugees’ skills with the local labour market. Therefore, ACTED is providing Turkish language courses and vocational trainings approved and certified by the Turkish Ministry of National Education to address such challenges, to facilitate their integration and to reinforce their self-reliance.