Any refugee situation is truly a humanitarian crisis that must concern us all. More than 4 million Syrians have fled the civil war in their homeland since it began in 2011, and half are now in Turkey.
Despite the Turkish government’s best efforts, life is far from easy for Syrian refugees. Many families have no income. Often the kids end up as child laborers since they’re cheaper to employ than their parents, and work 12 hours a day to support the entire family. Tzu Chi Foundation started organizing large-scale distributions in Turkey in 2015, helping thousands of Syrian refugee families at a time.
Families receive food staples like rice, sugar, oil and more. They can also get financial subsidies of between US$70 and $280, depending on their particular situation.
During the distributions Tzu Chi volunteers perform a song called “One Family” with accompanying arm movements, like a universal sign language that crosses any divide. The message is one of unity, because we truly are one family on this planet and need to transcend any racial, religious, or cultural differences that could tear us apart.
The spirit of love transcend all divisions, and soon, the roles of giver and receiver are blurred as aid recipients feel the urge to share what little they have with others in need.
It also gives rise to beautiful partnerships between those unified by their dedication to helping others. Tzu Chi doesn’t have a lot of volunteers in Turkey, but has inspired local involvement in its mission of love and care.
Faisal Hu is a Tzu Chi volunteer who, alongside his wife, started all the Syrian disaster relief projects in Turkey. And he’s found an amazing friend. Professor Cuma is Syrian, but not a refugee. Since the distributions began, he’s been instrumental in mobilizing Syrian volunteers, and helping in a variety of other ways.
This is just the beginning of people joining forces and showing their fellow brothers and sisters anywhere in the world that they care.