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European Civil Protection and Humanitarian Aid Operations
© IFRC
Shifting perceptions of refugees

from #PowerToBe to #PowerToShare

Hiba is a young musician. Ibrahim has a passion for swimming. Davud is happy when he plays basketball.

What do they have in common? All 3 of them have fled a war. They were forced to leave their country. They are driven by the desire to connect with and support others.

Monthly EU-funded cash assistance helps Hiba, Davud and Ibrahim decide for themselves how to cover essential needs like rent, transport, bills, food, and medicine.

At the same time, it provides the opportunity to invest back into communities that host them, supporting the local Turkish economy. 

The #PowerToShare campaign shows how people from all walks of life can connect at eye level and support each other, despite their differences.

The refugees participating in the campaign are supported by the Emergency Social Safety Net (ESSN). The initiative is funded by the EU and implemented by the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) and the Turkish Red Crescent, in partnership with the Government of Türkiye.

The ESSN provides financial support to 1.5 million vulnerable refugees in Türkiye – mostly from Syria – who are struggling to make ends meet.

The cash assistance helps give refugees in Türkiye some relief in exceptionally challenging times. Many faced deepening debt and poverty due to COVID-19.

The rapidly rising cost of living and lack of access to a regular income makes it difficult for vulnerable families to meet their basic needs.

In February 2023, 2 earthquakes caused massive destruction and suffering in Türkiye. Over 48,000 people died, and more than 230,000 buildings were damaged or destroyed. Many refugee families were among those who lost loved ones, their homes and their belongings.

Ibrahim

Ibrahim is partially paralysed after a sniper in Syria shot him. He had no choice but to leave everything behind and flee his home country. The ESSN helps him pay his essential bills in Türkiye.

In Istanbul, he volunteers at a centre for disabled children. “For me, after you take, you have to give back,” says Ibrahim. “Imagine how society would be without people helping each other.”

Hiba

Hiba loves to sing and writes her own songs. They are mostly about love, pain, and her dreams. Hiba grew up in Syria, but her schooling ended abruptly when the war started, and her family fled to Türkiye.

With her songs, Hiba wants to give people hope. She now attends a music school, where she also helps other students. “When we support each other, we are stronger,” she says.

Davud

Davud fled the war in Syria and came to Turkiye in 2012.

He likes all kinds of sports, especially parkour and basketball. Together with his best friend, Cengiz, he practises almost every day.

Their friendship has become an anchor for both. “When times were tough, we were helping each other with motivation when our morale was low,” says Davud.

For more information about the ESSN digital campaign, visit the official website.