Conflict forced 36-year-old Safiye and her family to flee her home in Syria five years ago. Safiye, her husband and five children have since tried to rebuild their lives in Türkiye.
Safiye used to have a beautiful life with her family in Syria. When the war broke out, everything changed radically. In the space of fifteen days she lost her two sisters. After this traumatic event, her family decided to flee Syria to find safety in Türkiye.
“Bombs were falling on us,” she says, “we had to get out of Syria for our children. There is no future for them there, but they can build a life in Turkey.”
A Difficult Start
From the start, life was not easy for the family, who fled to Adana province in Türkiye. Like many other refugee families in the area, the cost of living and lack of access to a regular income made it difficult to meet basic needs. One day, Safiye’s neighbour informed her about GOAL’s vocational courses for women. These courses are organised in cooperation with the Agricultural Production Enterprise, Agricultural Extension, and In-Service Training Center (TAYEM) under the Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry.
Safiye signed up for the courses with great enthusiasm. Her first priority was to get a grasp of the local language. “I attended Turkish language courses for 6 months. I could finally understand what people were talking about. If I didn’t know the language, life would be very difficult. So, I felt very empowered,” she said.
Courses in Agriculture
She then learned about the basics of agriculture such as watering, pruning, seed-reproduction, etc. While talking about the course, she remembers her little garden in Syria with longing.
“I had a small garden with flowers in my house in Homs. Now, I also have a lot of plants on my balcony. I grow all my plants by using the information I have gained. I have benefited a lot from the course.”
Becoming Self Sufficient
Safiye, was very successful in the courses and has now become a role model for other refugee women. She’s also found work with the support of GOAL’s coaching service. Working with a local cooperative, Safiye drys fruit and vegetables before they are sold. It’s tough work but she’s relishing the opportunity. “Sometimes I get home tired from work. But earning my own money means a lot to me. Of everyone in my family, I am the only one who works. That’s women power! My husband has a chronic disease and can’t work, so I am providing for the house. Being self-sufficient and productive makes me stronger. My family is proud of me,” she says with a smile.
“Before I met GOAL, my mental health was not good. I often remember the death of my sisters. GOAL has given me hope. Now, I always try to focus on the good. I have rewritten my destiny,” Safiye says.
The GREEN project
The GREEN project aims to improve the socio-economic inclusion, resilience and self-sufficiency of vulnerable women and girls from host and Syrian refugee communities through skills development and employment. As a result of the project, more than 3,000 women have received protection support, while more than a thousand women have received vocational training. With funding provided by the United States Government, the GREEN project is implemented by GOAL in cooperation with Adana Metropolitan Municipality.
GOAL Türkiye’s Social Services and Coaching Worker, Yasenya Kaya, is proud to support Safiye.
“Women should be able to stand on their own fee,” she says, “Safiye played an important role in raising awareness for other refugee women who have never went out and worked. I was proud of being able to bring happiness to women’s lives while empowering them.”
Fortunately, Safiye and her family were safe following the February 6th earthquakes in Türkiye and Syria.