10-month-old Yusuf is the youngest of a family of five who fled conflict in Syria to build a new life in Mersin province of Türkiye. Like all newborn babies, he should have spent his first days in his mother's arms. Unfortunately, he spent his first thirteen days in hospital, separated from his mother due to his family’s refugee registration issue.
Yusuf’s father, Mahir (25), left Raqqa in Syria for Türkiye seven years ago. He is the eldest in a family of eight children. To help support his family, Mahir was forced to drop out of primary school and work as an agricultural labourer. When the war in Syria broke out, he decided to come to Türkiye, leaving his old life and family behind at just eighteen to build a new life.
Carrying only memories
Mahir initially worked in many different provinces in Türkiye until he finally settled in Mersin province. He met and married Hatun and they had three boys. Even though he now has a family of his own, Mahir misses home.
“I miss my family the most. My mother, my brothers. I have many great memories from my childhood. I can’t forget any of them. I couldn’t bring anything with me when I left Syria. I brought only my best memories. I miss the times I spent with my brothers,” Mahir says.
Having to leave his parents and siblings in Syria, Mahir hoped that his new family would never be apart – until baby Yusuf was born. While expecting Yusuf, the couple visited Hatun’s family in Adana province. During the visit, Hatun went into labour. The couple went to the local hospital and baby Yusuf was born.
A Family Separated
While in hospital in Adana, the parents encountered an unexpected situation. Since Mahir and Hatun’s place of registration as refugees was Mersin, their insurance did not cover health services in Adana. Baby Yusuf needed to be registered in Adana to cover the hospitals costs. Local authorities decided to keep the baby in the hospital until the baby’s identity card was issued, which can take a long time. The parents were distraught.
“I carried Yusuf inside of me for nine months. Being separated from my baby made me very sad. I had to leave him in the hospital for 13 days,” Hatun says.
“If my wife had given birth in Mersin, we wouldn’t have experienced this,” says Mahir. “Thankfully, I reached the GOAL team in Adana and they supported us in every possible way.”
GOAL’s team met with Adana State Hospital to resolve the problem and then provided support to issue an identity card for the baby. Thanks to the family’s determination and the generous support of the state hospital and Migration Management Office in Mersin, baby Yusuf received his identity card and was finally reunited with his family.
GOAL’s team also provided a newborn kit including baby clothes, diapers, towels, thermos, pacifiers, shampoo, powder, feeding bottles and an infant carrier to meet the family’s urgent needs.
Yusuf’s parents have only one aim for the future: to support their children’s education. They hope this will enable them to find secure employment and provide for their own families in the future.
The LINK Programme
For four years, GOAL Türkiye has been implementing the LINK programme, funded by EU Humanitarian Aid, in five provinces in Türkiye. LINK provides protection services to vulnerable and marginalized Syrian refugees with critical information on their rights, obligations, and services in Türkiye.