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From feeling desperate to supporting others

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Zuhur fled the war in Syria with her husband and baby son. Although Zuhur was grateful that her family had found safety in Turkey, she started feeling depressed and stressed, trying to cope with the changes she was going through. A project funded by EU humanitarian aid helped her get through the psychological difficulties and find a new purpose in life, which helped her believe in a brighter future.

Story by Begüm Iman, Information and Communication Assistant, EU Civil Protection and Humanitarian Aid Operations

Zuhur was an English teacher back in Syria. Her face brightens when she talks about those days. When the war broke out, Zuhur and her husband took refuge in Turkey with their 4-month-old son. Some 2 years later, they had another baby.

Zuhur grew up in a big family. In Syria, she was surrounded by relatives, friends, colleagues, and her dear students.

When she and her husband were trying to rebuild their lives, they were all alone in their struggles. Being away from her loved ones and not being able to practice her profession drove Zuhur to despair.

In Turkey, most teaching jobs require equivalence of certificates and Turkish proficiency, which made it difficult for Zuhur to find work in her field.

*"In Syria, I was teaching. I had an active life. I felt useful. When we came here, I felt stuck doing nothing. My husband works whenever he can find a job, but it is not enough. I feel bad for not being able to support my family," *she says.

She was able to breathe freely again thanks to the psychosocial support she received through an EU-funded project run by the UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR) in cooperation with the Association for Solidarity with Asylum Seekers and Migrants (ASAM).

This project helps refugees in Turkey overcome barriers in accessing services while providing them with information, psychosocial support, or one-to-one follow-up for complicated cases.

ASAM later invited her to the women committee of the centre. This committee is a platform for refugee women to table problems they face and discuss solutions together with ASAM's experts.

Committee members like Zuhur help make the services and assistance provided by the centre known by and accessible to other refugees.

Staff and refugees alike appreciate Zuhur’s contribution to the work of the committee. “When I inform people about available services and assistance, they call me to thank me, pray for me. It makes me feel useful again,” explains Zuhur.

With close to 4 million, Turkey currently hosts the largest refugee population in the world. Behind this number, there are just as many moving human stories of people who were forced to flee their homes and leave everything behind.

The EU funds humanitarian projects in Turkey to support vulnerable refugees in accessing essential services and meeting their basic needs.