• Anıl Bahşi | IOM Türkiye Communications Consultant

Like many other Syrians, Ibrahim fled to Türkiye over a decade ago. The journey alongside his mother and sister was filled with challenges, due to his mother's advanced age and his sister's disability. 

When they first arrived in Türkiye, they lived in a temporary accommodation centre (TAC) in Şanlıurfa. A middle school student at the time, Ibrahim struggled to adapt and communicate. 

“In my first years of school, I had difficulties due to the language barrier and cultural differences. To address the problem, I attended a Turkish language course,” he recounts. “The high number of Syrian students in my school also helped me settle in.”During the testing times of the pandemic, Ibrahim learned about the International Organization for Migration (IOM) through his neighbours. He and his mother were able to receive support to address some of their needs. 

As the breadwinner of the family, Ibrahim was under pressure to provide for the household. Although his family received assistance from NGOs and he received income from part-time work, he always aspired to have a stable job. 

"After graduating from high school, I didn't have a regular job because I was taking care of my mother, who had health issues. I had to go to hospitals frequently,” says Ibrahim. “My longest job experience was when I worked alongside a tailor." 

Ibrahim took the initiative to seek further support from IOM in finding employment. 

Municipal Migrant and Community Centers provide comprehensive assistance to support individuals in finding employment. Photo: IOM/Anıl Bahşi

At the Şanlıurfa Municipal Migrant and Community Centre (MMCC), he consulted with an IOM counsellor, who registered his information and noted his previous experience in sewing. 

IOM runs six centres nationwide in cooperation with municipalities, providing needed assistance to migrants and refugees and connecting them to services – including vocational training and employment. 

“After a while, they called me and told me there was a job opportunity. This was great news for my family.” 

Ibrahim soon began his new job as a machine operator at a textile factory. 

“IOM aims to foster a network that connects jobseekers with businesses in need of personnel. We collaborate with public institutions, non-profit organizations and private enterprises to stay abreast of job market trends,” says Guzide Erdogan, IOM’s Vocational Guidance Counsellor at the Şanliurfa MMCC. “Our mission is to empower individuals, contribute to economic growth, and build a more inclusive future for migrant and refugee communities." 

“Thanks to the vocational counselling I received from IOM, I have a new job. This is a great opportunity for me and my family,” remarks Ibrahim. “I have plans for the future, but I still have a lot to learn. After I improve myself in the textile industry, I want to start my own business.” 

Now 21 years old, Ibrahim is able to envision a brighter future – along with 3,265 others who received vocational counselling from the centres in 2023. 

IOM’s support of six Municipal and Migrant Community Centres nationwide, as part of its Protection and Resilience Programme, is made possible by the U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Population, Refugees, and Migration (PRM).