We are delighted to announce our third Refugee Fund partnership with Maya Vakfi, working to provide counselling for children who are suffering from mental health issues and trauma as a result of war or displacement.
Syrian refugees experience all kinds of trauma due to the brutality of war and the uncertainty of migration and resettlement. Currently, four million of Syria’s 5.6 million displaced people reside in Turkey, but their troubles are far from over. Many have been separated from their families, and are vulnerable to crimes such as robbery, torture, and violence.
Thousands also face a daily struggle to deal with the circumstances which caused them to flee – including loss of loved ones, property and livelihoods, violence and rape. Coming to terms with such disturbing and painful experiences can take years, if not a lifetime.
Adapting to a new country and language in uncertain circumstances is a challenge that thousands face every year, and children in particular experience symptoms such as insomnia and bed-wetting. In fact, the prevalence of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) in Syrian children is 10 times higher than in other youngsters around the world, showing a critical need for greater mental and emotional support.
Maya Vakfi was founded in 2014 when 16-year-old Turkish student Emir Özsüer was shocked by news footage of young children fleeing Syria. His vision was to facilitate the mental, physical and academic development of children and young adults, enabling them to reach their full potential.
Now thriving, Maya Vakfi has 33 staff – including clinical psychologists and social workers. It aims to lower the risk of children being prone to future harm or misconduct as a result of financial, emotional, and traumatic upheaval.