04 Jul 2021
By: Melis Güner

After a life full of challenges and struggles, everyone deserves to make a change for the better. 

When the war broke out in Syria, it put thousands of vulnerable people, especially persons with disabilities, in a very disadvantaged situation. Without much support, they have to struggle with all the challenges on their own. Hussein Ghashim, a 34-year-old Syrian man, is not an exception. He lost his hearing in one ear in a bicycle accident when he was a teenager. He spent most of his life in Syria, getting his first job there at the age of eight and finding his second half. But the war brought new challenges.  

Dreaming of a decent life for his family, he and his wife migrated to Turkey from Aleppo in 2016. They settled down in Istanbul, hoping for a safe life and decent job that would afford him hearing treatment.  

When they arrived in Turkey, Hussein found a job in a Syrian restaurant to provide better conditions for his wife. However, in 2018, his wife was suddenly diagnosed with a brain tumor that deprived her of the ability to move and led to the loss of consciousness and comprehension difficulties.  

“My wife’s illness is the biggest challenge in life. I am trying to find treatment in hospitals. Unfortunately, the language barrier makes our journey more difficult.” said Hussein. Now, he takes care of her with great patience and love.

Addressing the needs of his sick wife, Hussein also struggled with his acquired disability, trying to find opportunities to recover hearing. After hearing about similar cases where International Organization for Migration (IOM) provided a hearing device, he decided to apply for humanitarian assistance.   

“For the first time in 20 years, I can hear in my right ear,” says Hussein. After his application was evaluated, the IOM Turkey Emergency Case Management team provided him with a hearing device in April 2021. It gave him hope for the better. Thanks to the hearing device, he started to feel more confident in engaging with others and improved his social and business life. “Before I got the hearing device, I had difficulties in hearing my wife when she needed me, but now I can hear her and take better care of her.”   

Besides a hearing device, IOM Turkey also provided rental assistance to Hussein and his wife. With the COVID19 pandemic restrictions, they could hardly pay their rent as Hussein could not work at the restaurant. Their landlord is a Turkish man who knows their situation and does not charge Hussein for rent or accepts a reduced amount that Hussein can pay off. He treats Hussein with understanding, being also his friend. “The emotional support is much more important to me than financial aid,” said Hussein. Hussein is grateful for the humanitarian aid and support from the host community and IOM Turkey.  

IOM Turkey’s humanitarian assistance aims to improve migrant communities' conditions and foster social cohesion among host and migrant communities. It mitigates the risks that migrants have and contributes them to find long-term solutions. Now, Hussein fights with the challenges and wants to work to sustain their life. However, he never loses his hope because he believes that challenges bring new hopes and opportunities.