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European Civil Protection and Humanitarian Aid Operations

Türkiye earthquakes: EU-funded centre helps women and children cope with trauma

This year’s devastating earthquakes have led to unprecedented humanitarian needs in 11 provinces across Türkiye. The disaster claimed the lives of over 50,000 people, and directly impacted some 14 million people.

In Kilis, a community centre by the International Blue Crescent Relief & Development Foundation (IBC), provides a safe space for local and refugee children to learn, play and recover. In addition, women also receive support to help them overcome the trauma they have experienced.

Co-funded by the EU’s humanitarian aid and the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development, GIZ actively supports local initiatives like this one. The aim is to address the pressing needs of the most vulnerable and at-risk groups.

View of a classroom, in front childrens seated at a table playing a game of chess.
Children start the day with a chess course run by social integration specialist Pınar Boza, followed by art workshops and other activities. “Children not only develop themselves, but also get together and socialise with other children,” Pınar says.
© European Union, 2023 (photographer: Bahar Bakir Yurdakul)
Children playing a game on a table. A ball is thrown towards a pile of cups placed on top of each other. Around other children and a teacher.
Many children were affected by the Syrian war and the earthquake. When they first arrived at the centre, they were introverted and did not speak to anybody. Now, they express themselves more comfortably.
© European Union, 2023 (photographer: Bahar Bakir Yurdakul)
Photo of Serif sitting at a table in a class room with his head leaning in his hands.
This is 12-year-old Serif. His family fled the war in Syria and found safety in Türkiye. He learned how to play chess here, his new favourite game. “I didn't have many friends before, but I have many now. We play games, we go to the park. I like it.”
© European Union, 2023 (photographer: Bahar Bakir Yurdakul)
Photo of Ece in front of a colourful collage representing a tree with red and green circles with text written on it.
11-year-old Ece from Gaziantep, Türkiye, enjoys coming to the centre. “I have a lot of fun here. We play games and do drama activities. We go to the movies, tour the city. When I go out, I discover new things and it makes me very happy,” she says.
© European Union, 2023 (photographer: Bahar Bakir Yurdakul)
Group of women working while seated at a table full with textiles.
Women come together for sewing, wood painting, and handicraft workshops. It gives them the opportunity to learn, spend time together, and sell the products to help them make ends meet.
© European Union, 2023 (photographer: Bahar Bakir Yurdakul)
Kefe sitting at a table, in the background shelves with all sorts of things and an iron board at the right.
Kefe fled the war in Syria and came to Türkiye with her family. "We were badly affected by the earthquake,” she says. “Our house was damaged. It is very good for me to come here and chat with other women. I feel that my mental health has improved.”
© European Union, 2023 (photographer: Bahar Bakir Yurdakul)
Photo of Bahar Bakir Yurdakul

Story and photos by Bahar Bakir Yurdakul, Information and Communication Assistant in Ankara, EU Civil Protection and Humanitarian Aid Operations.
Twitter: @ECHO_Europe

Publication date: 15/09/2023