"For me, it was a challenging journey, but I did not give up. One should be self-sufficient and optimistic in life," says Ayşe, a 38-year-old migrant woman, a mother of six children, who currently resides in Şanlıurfa.
She comes from Aleppo, Syria, where she lived until the conflict broke out. Back at home, Ayşe worked in Syria's greenhouse farming industry to support her family. She is also an accomplished home sewer and tailor; she enjoyed sewing for others, especially for her children.
She moved to Turkey six years ago; the integration process was extremely challenging for her and her family. "The best thing about living in Turkey is the sense of security and adherence to rules. Moreover, Turkish people are very friendly and kind," says Ayse. She is the family's sole breadwinner: "I have been providing for my family alone for the last two years since my husband left us."
She maintains a rigorous daily schedule: she starts her day by caring for and feeding her children, and then she goes to work. She collects cardboard boxes from residential areas and sells them to get some money. The most difficult part is that she has to bring her children with her; sometimes she leaves them with a relative, if she is lucky.
Most earned money Ayse spends on food. Unfortunately, she doesn’t earn enough to make their home cozier and a better place as she would love to.
Having learned about Ayse’s difficult situation, in collaboration with local authorities, IOM Turkey reached Ayşe to repair and furnish her home. She got her internal electrical cabling fixed, doors and windows replaced, and walls insulated and repainted. Much needed blankets, beds and other home items and appliances appeared in her house. Ayse is also thankful for her upgraded and renovated bathroom and toilet: she is sure now that her children can develop good hygiene habits. Now Ayse can be confident about her future: with the support of IOM Turkey’s team, she’s got a rental agreement with fixed rates for an agreed period.
"The house is very clean now, with excellent sanitary facilities. We are not afraid of being kicked out of our house or facing an increased rent price anymore. We now have mattresses and blankets to sleep on, a stove and firewood to stay warm, as well as clothing for myself and my children. It made us happier, " Ayşe emphasizes the importance of assistance to her and her family. Besides, she received necessary medical assistance for her two asthmatic children.
"We’ve had nothing before. I am grateful to IOM Turkey for all the. All I need is a secure and settled life. I'd like to start my own business selling vegetables and fruits in a small place so that I can support my family financially," Ayşe shared her hopes and dreams.